Entry - MAG Poetry Prize 2010

THE FLIGHT OF THE MONARCHS

by Ian Roberts

It is September in a corner
Of Lake Eyrie in Canada
And, until now, this place
Has been the whole world
To billions of their kind.
They have never ventured
More than a few hundred yards
But now, as the cold inches in,
Some genetic memory urges them
Beyond this cooling microcosm
To turn their wings southward;
And now they are soaring
Like Autumn in reverse
And filling the sky with a golden sunset, 
 
Gorged on nectar and guided by the sun,
They will fly two thousand miles
To a patch of shrinking forest,
High in the mountains of Mexico,
Where they will hang in dense clusters
Through the long night of winter.
Some will drop and perish in the frost below
Whilst some fall prey to the few birds
Immune to their protective poison.
Most, though, will survive to wake
And drink at the renewed river;
Drifting down to ground
Like Spring in reverse,
Before filling the sky with a golden sunrise.

Added: 18.04.2010

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