Victory Formation

Airborne wild geese squadron
Flies in V-formation
With corporate precision –
Such sheer exhilaration
Of poetry in motion!

They celebrate with ecstasy
In pure balletic artistry
Proficient use of energy
By aerodynamic strategy.

The leading bird, prow-like, ploughs up the air;
Within its double slipstream glides a pair,
Behind and sideways, finding pinion space
As each in turn becomes a means of grace,
Enabling the next that rides the skies
Its stores of energy to maximise.

The first, adrenaline high, initiates
The flight path, sets the pace, facilitates . . .
Until he tires, then freely must agree
To yield up apex of the victory V
And fly in someone else’s surge of faith.

This parable of nature cuts both ways:
Another in the team, whose faith is strong
By privilege of being borne along
Upon momentum of the bird ahead,
Must with conviction now assume the lead
To pass the blessing on from foremost place.

Hugh Thompson
(Weston-Super-Mare)

April 6, 1998

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