October 2019

A Note from Our New Poetry Editor: Terry House.

It is my great honor to take up the reins on this monthly column from Susan Edwards Richmond - a poet whose work I admire as deeply as I cherish her friendship.

This month’s Poem of the Month is from Susan’s 2006 chapbook,  Birding in Winter (Finishing Line Press).

Girl with Swallows

By Susan Edwards Richmond

Sun stretches as day lowers

its boom, black flies swirling.

Having refused the hat,

having refused the binoculars,

she twirls behind a mother’s purposeful steps.


Everything about her long

and tapered and graceful,

having outgrown her youngest self,

having outgrown her fledgling wings,

she skips through blizzards of swallows.


Skimming so close, the swish of their sweep

is like breath against skin.

And all the time the green backs catching the sun,

and all the time the white bellies mirroring the water,

The forked tails pinching off parcels of blue.


Barn swallows reach down, stir feathers in the pond,

tree swallows smoothly take the middle air,

While high above, swifts chitter and turn.

Her heart plunges with every dive,

soars with every mount to the sky.


Susan’s debut picture book, Bird Count, will be released by Peachtree Publishing Company October 1st.  A launch party to celebrate will be held Saturday, October 5, at 11 a.m. at Silver Unicorn Books in West Acton. All are welcome! For updates about future readings, visit Susan’s author site at www.susanedwardsrichmond.com.  

Susan Edwards Richmond is the author of the children’s picture book, Bird Count (Peachtree) about a child who becomes a Citizen Scientist for a day in her town’s Christmas Bird Count.  A passionate birder and naturalist, Susan teaches preschool at Drumlin Farm in Lincoln, Massachusetts.  She earned her M.A. in Creative Writing from the University of California, Davis, and is an award-winning poet with five collections of nature-based poetry for adults, including Before We Were Birds (Adastra Press) and Birding in Winter (Finishing Line Press). She is happiest exploring natural habitats with her husband and two daughters. She lives in Stow, Massachusetts.