Published in Overland Issue 211 Winter 2013 · Uncategorized The swallows in Saint Peter’s Square Luke Whitington The swallows refuse to assist My eye’s dismissal, tip toeing in the air Like the minnows, suspended in the stream Of the moment, they hover then let go And descend to slowly rise again, no flying monk Could pull and allow his bells to topple Roll over so eloquently as these unconscious ballerinas of the air. The priests that flow in pairs from St Peters sway out across the square And hardly lift their heads toward these tiny pendulums of flight They grip their rosaries against the risk of an uncertain sky And turn down the avenue in files; fluttering rags of darkness toward approaching night. And as always I remain in this apricot-smudged square of Rome And love to watch this autumnal show, the departure of the swallows Signalled by their silent play, my eyes a little saddened Want their farewell to be over quickly, my mind tucking away their salutations But my heart tugs against this dismissal, hypnotised By this continual swinging rhythm, a serenade to autumn A flock of birds’ last ballet in the changing rusts of light Through a crowded gateway, time threaded for the traveller’s eyes. Luke Whitington Luke Whitington lives in Sydney and Canberra. He has been published in journals and newspapers in Ireland and Australia. More by Luke Whitington › Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places. If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate. Related articles & Essays First published in Overland Issue 228 8 December 2023 · Fiction Fiction | The Victims Emma Jayne Willson Every morning I checked the Director’s calendar to ensure there were no meeting clashes, no opportunity for her polished façade to slip. Once I’d made the mistake of booking two meetings without leaving ten minutes between them, thus forcing her to run across the sprawling campus. She arrived late for her meeting with the Provost, […] First published in Overland Issue 228 7 December 20238 December 2023 · Food Righteous appetites: the dilemmas of the ethical omnivore’s diet Jaimee Edwards The pastoral is our setting for the good life that puts the 'ethical' in 'ethical sausage'. The websites for small-scale farms and ethical meat butchers around the world look like brochures for retirement living. Together, the happy animals, their conscientious handlers, and ceremonial butchers form a picture of aligned values.