Peter Branson

Fallen Angels

Peter Branson

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Swifts are in trouble. Their numbers plummeted by 47% between 1995 & 2014.


Swing-devil chimney sweeps, long sabres honed

for speed, they’re roaring boys on muscle bikes,

make screaming tumble-turns and boomerangs,

tails tuning-forks, high-flying anchor signs

from darkness into light, jet-stream ten weeks

from Africa, recurring tirelessly

May blossom out, legless the ancients’ held,

late August turnabout, all weather-wise.

When we deserted caves, swifts gave up cliffs

outside, spyholes in trees, for gapes in thatch

and tile or sheltered high-rise gable ends

to daub saliva-wattle, bonding, thrive.

They’re townies now, but lately we’ve new-built,

improved, plugged cracks to insulate. They’ve moved.


Peter Branson


Peter Branson is a full-time poet whose work has been published by journals in Britain, the USA, Canada, Ireland, Australasia and South Africa, including Acumen, Ambit, Agenda, Envoi, The London Magazine, The North, Prole, The Warwick Review, Iota, The Butcher’s Dog, The Frogmore Papers, The Interpreter’s House, SOUTH, Crannog, THE SHOp, Causeway, Main Street Rag, The Columbia Review and Other Poetry. He has won prizes and been placed in a number of poetry competitions over recent years. His selected poems, ‘Red Hill, came out in 2013. His latest collection, ‘Hawk Rising’, from ‘Lapwing’, Belfast, was published in early April 2016.