University of Minnesota


Contributed by S. Korsten

Its brilliant orange fingerprint 
                          flutters effortlessly. 
                  Floating near weightlessness, 
                                         Outwardly aimless. 
           The monarch fulfills itself 
                             Without lunch dates or workweeks. 
                     Revelry does not greet its morning, and schedules 
                                        Are unknown. 

             But the impending arctic air 
                                    Commands this regal creature to leave home 
     And its pointless travels are pointless no more, 
                       As it seeks relief at the gulf. 

Never complaining along its agonizing three-thousand-mile course, fed only by milkweed? 

                                         Who cheers the monarch, encouraging it 
                                 On its quest? 
                 How is it that such a fragile being 
         Survives the journey 
         Against the elements 
                 Of morbid weather and Cadillac grills? 

                                 Determination must reside in the tiny body 
                                         Where it's not likely to be found. 
                 And when the monarch completes its final mile, 
                                         Does it cry the tears of painful joy 
                         Like marathon runners at the finish line?


-- S. Korsten, 2002

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