The buttresses of morning lift the sun
Across an arc of steel and flying piers.
The twin cadenzas of the cables run
Like landless gulls across the hemispheres.

Out of a step of mist the caisson root
Spires from the consonant rock to the vowel of sky,
The highway rings the morning underfoot
Scoring the traffic for a symphony.

And arc and piers and highway soar from steel
Into a swinging web of flying sound.
A gull’s geometry, a flashing keel,
A flowering ceremony of the ground.

The men who climbed like birds to trap that wire,
Like birds were born to know what song and flight meant:
The tempo of an arc, curve of a choir,
The eye’s adagio and the blood’s excitement.

From The Collected Poems of John Ciardi (University of Arkansas Press, 1997), edited by Edward M. Cifelli. Copyright © 1997 by the Ciardi Family Publishing Trust. Used with the permission of the publisher.