Down below on the bottom
where sight and sunlight strain to go,
this was their home for a year;
millions eating their way to today,
fuelling themselves for their only flight.
Tomorrow they will all be dead.
All afternoon they’ve risen,
at dusk they will take to the air;
this is a dance of life and death
this is the act they were born for.
First in flight are the males
who will grasp any breeze that is blowing,
hanging their adverts high
to be joined by a mass emergence of consorts;
and in the rhythmic shimmer of threadlike tails
they will trip on the light fantastic
exhausting the energy of a year
to fall, crash onto the water
spill their eggs and die;
but this is not the end
just one segment of a cycle
that stretches back before man:
An irresistible urge to fly in the face of death.
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.