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The Comedian As The Letter C: 02 - Concerning The Thunderstorms Of Yucatan
In Yucatan, the Maya sonneteers Of the Caribbean amphitheatre, In spite of hawk and falcon, green toucan And jay, still to the night-bird made their plea, As if raspberry tanagers in palms, High up in orange air, were barbarous. But Crispin was too destitute to find In any commonplace the sought-for aid. He was a man made vivid by the sea, A man come out of luminous traversing, Much trumpeted, made desperately clear, Fresh from discoveries of tidal skies, To whom oracular rockings gave no rest. Into a savage color he went on. How greatly had he grown in his demesne, This auditor of insects! He that saw The stride of vanishing autumn in a park By way of decorous melancholy; he That wrote his couplet yearly to the spring, As dissertation of profound delight, Stopping, on voyage, in a land of snakes, Found his vicissitudes had much enlarged His apprehension, made him intricate In moody rucks, and difficult and strange In all desires, his destitution’s mark. He was in this as other freemen are, Sonorous nutshells rattling inwardly. His violence was for aggrandizement And not for stupor, such as music makes For sleepers halfway waking. He perceived That coolness for his heat came suddenly, And only, in the fables that he scrawled With his own quill, in its indigenous dew, Of an aesthetic tough, diverse, untamed, Incredible to prudes, the mint of dirt, Green barbarism turning paradigm. Crispin foresaw a curious promenade Or, nobler, sensed an elemental fate, And elemental potencies and pangs, And beautiful barenesses as yet unseen, Making the most of savagery of palms, Of moonlight on the thick, cadaverous bloom That yuccas breed, and of the panther’s tread. The fabulous and its intrinsic verse Came like two spirits parlaying, adorned In radiance from the Atlantic coign, For Crispin and his quill to catechize. But they came parlaying of such an earth, So thick with sides and jagged lops of green, So intertwined with serpent-kin encoiled Among the purple tufts, the scarlet crowns, Scenting the jungle in their refuges, So streaked with yellow, blue and green and red In beak and bud and fruity gobbet-skins, That earth was like a jostling festival Of seeds grown fat, too juicily opulent, Expanding in the gold’s maternal warmth. So much for that. The affectionate emigrant found A new reality in parrot-squawks. Yet let that trifle pass. Now, as this odd Discoverer walked through the harbor streets Inspecting the cabildo, the façade Of the cathedral, making notes, he heard A rumbling, west of Mexico, it seemed, Approaching like a gasconade of drums. The white cabildo darkened, the façade, As sullen as the sky, was swallowed up In swift, successive shadows, dolefully. The rumbling broadened as it fell. The wind, Tempestuous clarion, with heavy cry, Came bluntly thundering, more terrible Than the revenge of music on bassoons. Gesticulating lightning, mystical, Made pallid flitter. Crispin, here, took flight. An annotator has his scruples, too. He knelt in the cathedral with the rest, This connoisseur of elemental fate, Aware of exquisite thought. The storm was one Of many proclamations of the kind, Proclaiming something harsher than he learned From hearing signboards whimper in cold nights Or seeing the midsummer artifice Of heat upon his pane. This was the span Of force, the quintessential fact, the note Of Vulcan, that a valet seeks to own, The thing that makes him envious in phrase. And while the torrent on the roof still droned He felt the Andean breath. His mind was free And more than free, elate, intent, profound And studious of a self possessing him, That was not in him in the crusty town From which he sailed. Beyond him, westward, lay The mountainous ridges, purple balustrades, In which the thunder, lapsing in its clap, Let down gigantic quavers of its voice, For Crispin to vociferate again.