The Armadillo

The Armadillo

por Elizabeth Bishop

For Robert Lowell

This is the time of year
when almost every night
the frail, illegal fire balloons appear.
Climbing the mountain height,

rising toward a saint
still honored in these parts,
the paper chambers flush and fill with light
that comes and goes, like hearts.

Once up against the sky it's hard
to tell them from the stars--
planets, that is--the tinted ones:
Venus going down, or Mars,

or the pale green one. With a wind,
they flare and falter, wobble and toss;
but if it's still they steer between
the kite sticks of the Southern Cross,

receding, dwindling, solemnly
and steadily forsaking us,
or, in the downdraft from a peak,
suddenly turning dangerous.

Last night another big one fell.
It splattered like an egg of fire
against the cliff behind the house.
The flame ran down. We saw the pair

of owls who nest there flying up
and up, their whirling black-and-white
stained bright pink underneath, until
they shrieked up out of sight.

The ancient owls' nest must have burned.
Hastily, all alone,
a glistening armadillo left the scene,
rose-flecked, head down, tail down,

and then a baby rabbit jumped out,
short-eared, to our surprise.
So soft!--a handful of intangible ash
with fixed, ignited eyes.

Too pretty, dreamlike mimicry! O falling fire and piercing cry and panic,
and a weak mailed fist clenched ignorant against the sky!

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Misceláneas


Otros poemas de Elizabeth Bishop (leer al azar)


Unfunny uncles who insist
in trying on a lady's hat,
--oh, even if the joke falls flat,

Still dark.
The unknown bird sits on his usual branch.
The little dog next door barks in his sleep

Days that cannot bring you near
or will not,
Distance trying to appear

Here, above,
cracks in the buildings are filled with battered mo …
The whole shadow of Man is only as big as his hat.

Across the floor flits the mechanical toy,
fit for a king of several centuries back.
A little circus horse with real white hair.

Each day with so much ceremony
begins, with birds, with bells,
with whistles from a factory;

Although it is a cold evening,
down by one of the fishhouses
an old man sits netting,

This is the time of year
when almost every night
the frail, illegal fire balloons appear.

Here is a coast; here is a harbor;
here, after a meager diet of horizon, is some scene …
impractically shaped and--who knows?--self-pitying

I am too big. Too big by far. Pity me.
My eyes bulge and hurt. They are my one great beaut …
so. They see too much, above, below. And yet, ther...

The brown enormous odor he lived by
was too close, with its breathing and thick hair,
for him to judge. The floor was rotten; the sty

The rain has stopped. The waterfall will roar like …
night. I have come out to take a walk and feed. My …
that is--is wet and cold and...

In the cold, cold parlor
my mother laid out Arthur
beneath the chromographs:

The state with the prettiest name,
the state that floats in brackish water,
held together by mangrave roots

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