Questions From Migration

If a bird, flying with a lesser moon,

sees clouding in the sky ahead,

great majesties in peaks of dread,

gobbling her sky of promised stars,

assembling their fountains for a storm:

spin-drift, rain-wrack, wind-tear and rift, the bars

that will hobble her flight-path, this sky-night’s gift —

and if this is not one bird but thousands,

have they rehearsed how to let storm rage safely below?

What are the by-pass strategies carried in genes?

Wing higher than this moment’s thirty-thousand feet?

Dive and bear the brunt too close to waves and killing sleet?

Violently swerve east? Or west? Be over India by dawn?

When Morocco is the place to which their genes are drawn?

Or do they switch from their familiar system

into one so deep at their birds’ safe core

that only danger stabs it to the fore?

The earth’s magnetic core. Core too profound

to notice any storm’s most violent brew.

Is this where birds will turn? What birds will do?

And we. Where turn? What do?