Swifts Turn in the Heights of the Air

By Philippe Jaccottet


“Swifts turn in the heights of the air;
higher still turn the invisible stars.
When day withdraws to the ends of the earth
their fires shine on a dark expanse of sand.
We live in a world of motion and distance.
The heart flies from tree to bird,
from bird to distant star,
from star to love; and love grows
in the quite house, turning and working,
servant of thought, a lamp held in one hand.”

Distances (Les Distances) by Philippe Jaccottet

Translated by Derek Mahon

Image by Tereza Stehlíková