What is it keeps you flying
(a thousand miles in all, a garland
adorning the earth) when one of you falls,
a scarlet flower upon his breast,
when one’s hurt wing becomes a rose
of white upon the plains of snow below?
Oh collection of rapidly beating hearts,
you of the circular journey, of the yes
and the no, the relentless diminishment,
the continuous, arduous joining, you
of abandoned nests, ragged, raucous, returning,
you exhausted and beautiful,
unmitigated, migrating crown,
what mystery makes you
hold yourself above
this lowdown earth?