The Quetzal Bird – 1968
The Quetzal bird of the sun mountains sang
Querida, Querida in many tongues and flew high away
when I wanted to touch it even only for once
to feel the feathers, see the golden world
of its eye turned upon me.
At last it came down to us. This was warm within
the outer cold, shimmering world enclosing us
for the real dream sleeps, and waking
to each time the anguish, each time
the bright bubble too soon.
It reformed and reformed.
Every hard kiss spoke the unuttered, unutterable word:
Was it the last, would there be another
small, huge enclosing world once more
and several once mores.
Yet the Quetzal of the high sierras
kept returning to the place behind our two minds,
it fluttered sacred feathers and golden eyes
that pitied and warned.
Querida, darling, beautiful, never another,
always you. In many voices, all ours
in the deep world of two alone,
the perfect double image to be torn back to two
in the daylight of imperfection
and the job, the job, the job
that broke the image apart.
The Quetzal bird took away
the world of our enclosed selves
high up to its death eyrie.
The Quetzal bird will not shine
its gold world-eye upon me again.
Instead it has left me a charm of sparrows.
It is not the same.