Mud and Straw

Photo source:

~ Learning from the Swallow ~

A good part of my childhood was spent in my grandmother’s village, where I grew up believing that the mud nests the swallows built under our eaves brought us good luck. More swallow nests meant better luck. I remember the joy when yet another swallow family would choose to raise its young under my grandmother’s roof.

The swallow was an almost totemic animal for me—a swift, hard-working, cheerful bird, the harbinger of spring. Basically, everything I wasn’t (but wished to be). Over the years, as I moved away from the village to increasingly bigger cities, I saw swallows less often and began to forget their importance.

But just the other day, while walking through a Swiss vineyard, where cheerful birds chased a slow cloud of midges, I glimpsed the tell-tale red flash of a swallow’s neck. I squinted into the sun—and sure enough, there it was, that thing with feathers from my childhood, its forked tail scissoring the air above me. Another moment of blissful abandon and it was gone, leaving me doubled over with longing.

It felt like home, that quick encounter, a home I can only go back to in my memory, because the people and places that made it meaningful once are only alive in my mind—and in my heart, which misses them, deeply. I went back to my new, likely temporary, home and listened to swallow sounds on YouTube, the chirps, whirrs, and warbles filling me with even more longing. I reread the Romanian fairytale I used to love as a child, the one about the girl Randunica who turns into a swallow. I looked at my grandmother’s pictures. I mourned.

Then I started writing this piece. A walk down memory lane, yes. But also an acknowledgement that our past is firmly ensconced within us, a mud nest the swallows of our soul rebuild each spring.

~ Romana Iorga’s bio of sorts ~

author pic
With Willow, my dignified, gullifadorkable pointer-setter

I’m a Romanian-American writer living in Lausanne, Switzerland. I was born in Moldova (when it was still part of the Soviet Union–long story), studied language and literature at the University of Bucharest, published two poetry books in Romanian, and moved to the US for love, more poetry, and adventure.

Adventure comes to those who seek it. I graduated from the University of Minnesota with an MFA in creative writing, had two children, hopped around the country for a while, following my husband’s academic career, and settled in Virginia, where I taught English at a magnet school for nearly a decade.

I wrote in the spaces between moves and jobs, while bringing up babies, walking our high-energy dog, teaching, publishing here and there (find some of my published work under Pebbles and Sand)–in other words, while learning how to be myself in a new language and culture. My family’s most recent move brought us to Switzerland, where I’m finally able to focus full-time on my writing.

I’m currently working on a new poetry manuscript, after disowning its earlier versions. I’m also tinkering with a novel whose genre I find hard to pin down. Romantic suspense, I think. A coming-of-age story. Though, most likely, horror. It’s my first lengthy foray into fiction, you see. The cave is dark and full of terrors. Not to mention that my guide is a fickle bat prone to mood swings (see Impetus and Inertia).

This short poem I wrote many years ago may offer I clearer and more succinct insight into my life and work. One of its lines gave this blog its name. Twenty years later, I’m still mapping the nest.


*   *   *
My life—

Swallow identification
Photo source:

the nest of the swallow that left
in late fall, burdened
by our sorrows.
My life—
a wickerwork of clay and branches,
white flowers
quivering in the mud.
The shadow of a wing
fallen upon the house.



poemul sosirii
Poem of Arrival, Bucharest: Glasul Press, 1996
auz simplu
Simple Hearing, Bucharest: Semne Press, 2000

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑


songs unheard by the poet next door

Murtagh's Meadow

Ramblings of an Irish ecologist and gardener

An Edinburgh Cook

Flavours of a burgeoning cook, father and wannabe adventurer

Fluffy Pool

Let's write something every day.

The Curious Blog of a Millennial

I'm on a curiosity voyage. These books are my paddles. I need my paddles!


Dream as if u live forever.. Live as tomorrow is the last one.

Short Prose

short prose, fiction, poetry

Wandering Worlds

Lost, Hidden, Forgotten

The Dreaming Lady

personal blog of Kiyo - artist and writer


An attempt to understand myself through art and writing.

the creative life in between

cherishing the moments and exploring my passion for creativity... through art, photography, food, and writing

Charmed Chaos

Musings on Life, Love, and Linguini

Rhyme N Review

Poetry, books, music, movies, and motivation / Videos, essays, art, and some quotation!


Creativity Unleashed

For what they were... we are

Prehistory, Anthropology and Genetics

The Diary of a Country Bumpkin

A Londoner now enjoying country living.

The Jittery Goat

short stories, ebooks, and other stuff

Fingers to Sky

Soul Searching. Gardening. Aspiring Writer.


Freelance writer back on the edge ready to jump!

Veronica's Garden

I originally started this blog to promote my novel, Post Rock Limestone Caryatids. Now I write essays and poetry about everything, including the Flint Hills, healing, parenting, etc. WARNING: emotional content, sometimes intense. Read at own risk of feeling.



The Eggcorn

malapropisms abound

Michelle Harrington

She writes and waits for the end of the world.


The Casual Way to Discuss Movies

Z for short.

Writing and e-publishing.

Insights from "Inside"

Sunshine on Razor Wire: perspectives from "inside"

An Artist's Path

A space for creative seekers.

scattered words

scribbles by Hemendra Dibaakor

Put Out to Pasture

Trading in my combat boots


Writing is Coming!

Stop procrastinating now!

New site available:

Toby's Big Oul Blog

here are some words what i wrote

My Garden

Uma Gowrishankar

Permacircular horizons

Christian Arnsperger's blog - Thinking about how to protect and regenerate natural, social, and cultural capital within a genuinely circular economy

Yoga Mom

Yoga Happens Every Day—Divorce And All

Peacock Poetry

by Sam Allen

Smoke words every day.

Tumse na ho payega

The Moving Finger Writes

Roshni Rajshekhar Nair

Not the Whole Story

Just a girl and her street pup, living abroad

%d bloggers like this: