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Barn Swallows

The old barns on this summer island

Are being used for theaters,

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For studios, garages, or just

To house the overflow of guests.

The barn swallows have built their nests

Over the doorway of the town hall.

I saw them there tonight, asleep.

I wonder if the swallows miss

The smell of horse and harness leather,

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Of sweet white clover in the haymow,

Of full warm udders ready to be milked,

Of cats, and corn, and brown wheat bran.

I wonder if they miss the sound

Of breathing, chewing, snorting, nuzzling,

The rustle of a mouse, a cricket

Shrilling; and Grandpa calling back,

``Leave the barn door open just

A little crack - for the swallows.''

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