Often, to pass the time on board, the crew
will catch an albatross, one of those big birds
which nonchalantly chaperone a ship
across the biter fathoms of the sea.
Tied to the deck, this sovereign of space,
as if embarrassed by its clumsiness,
pitiably lets its great white wings
drag at its sides like a pair of unshipped oars.
How weak and awkward, even comical
this traveler but lately so adroit –
one deckhand sticks a pipestem in its beak
, another mock the cripple that once flew!
The Poet is like this monarch of the clouds
riding the storm above the marksman’s range;
exiled on the ground, hooted and jeered,
he cannot walk because of his great wings.