With heartfelt thanks to Arthur Ransome (see below) for the gift, I cannot resist posting Edward Thomas's How At Once -
How at once should I know,
When stretched in the harvest blue
I saw the swift's black bow,
That I would not have that view
Until next May
Again it is due?
The same year after year -
But with the swift alone.
With other things I but fear
That they will be over and done
And I only see
Them to know them gone.
This had quite slipped my mind, though I was sure there must be a poem somewhere on the 'last swift' theme. Thomas perfectly expresses the sweet sorrow of the occasion, its unique quality of loss - 'but with the swift alone'. And who but Thomas could get it so right? A perfect meeting of bird and poet.