The Sleep of the Condor

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Beyond the steep ramparts of the high Cordilliferes,Beyond the dun fogs where the black eagle's eyrie's,Higher, far higher than the bold craters, like funnels,Whence springs out the lava from its deep boiling tunnels,With wings that hang down, jagged, red in some places,The condor looks silent o'er limitless spaces.Across the New World, to the sun that no longerBlazes bright in his eyes. The shadows grow stronger.Night rolls from the east, against mountains in stories,At whose feet the wild pampas display all their glories.She darkens o'er Chili, its town, and the oceanWhich slumbers profound, without ripple or motion;On the continent silent her banner is planted,From the sands to the boulders, up gorges high-slantedFrom crest unto crest, swell, advance her proud surges,A high-tide of darkness, some power upward urges.On the peak which is topmost, where still a red lustreStains with a blood-streak the glaciers that shimmer.He waits with a courage he knows how to muster.Alone, like a spectre, growing dimmer and dimmerThe blackness that threatens like a sea to surround him:It comes -- it is near -- at last it has bound him.In the depths of the heavens, on a sudden there lightensThe Cross of the South -- a pale beacon that brightens!There's a rattle of pleasure, his neck is erect,Bare, musculous; he peers his flight to directHe stirs, whipping up, the sharp snow of the Andes,He mounts the blue ether with a hoarse cry that grand is,Far, far from this globe, by night's banner defended,Far, far from its noise, from its strife, its endeavour,A speck, but a speck, and as frozen for everHe sleeps in the air, with his wings wide-extended.

© Toru Dutt