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The Gray Bird on the Beach

Walking alone along the road,
I thought of poetry and of my dreams.
The dust I stirred created dragons,
Swarming in the shimmering heat.

The dust, descending, turned to sand,
And, out of my footsteps, flowers sprang,
Fringed with jagged, cutting leaves,
And, clothed with seeds that stung my feet.

The beach was bare, without a stone.
And, I went walking, all alone.
Out to the beach, alone, again.
The liquid sun struck my ring, like rain.

“Where are you going?” I called to the gray bird,
Standing, on a sandy hillock, looking out to sea.
With one foot tucked up underneath him,
So very proud he seemed to be.
And, though I saw him very clear,
To him, it seemed I was not here.
He seemed intent on another world,
Unseen, except by those with second sight.

Tall he stood, ignoring me,
Intent on what I could not see.
Stiff and silent, standing there,
He seemed to stare,
At things that seemed to me, just air.
Oh, in his heart he seemed to see,
The very spirit of the sea,
The soul of cataclysmic foam,
The arms of sky that he called home,
And, the land of clouds he loved to roam.

He heard the words the siren sings,
And, winds extolling tide pool kings,
He never saw my sun struck ring,
Nor the waves of my pretended wing.
And, never, though I went quite near,
Did the gray bird ever seem to hear,
My wild, determined, loud hellos.

V. Castellanos – 1962
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