The swifts flock, swooping clouds,
And string together on telephone wires.
White breasts, black wings: they fly
At the time of leaving when leaves turn,
And they turn southwards and cry.
The egrets assemble on the mill pond,
On overhanging branches in twilight.
White necks, black knees: they soar
When the time comes, above trees,
Fields and marshes, and shore.
The divorcée collects her boxes,
And throws away old clothes and tokens.
White heart, black boots: she glances
Out the window at aster gone to seed,
Feels need, and how the hour hand advances.