The Air Plant 

By Hart Crane

Grand Cayman

 

This tuft that thrives on saline nothingness,
Inverted octopus with heavenward arms
Thrust parching from a palm-bole hard by the cove⎯
A bird almost⎯of almost bird alarms,
 
Is pulmonary to the wind that jars
Its tentacles, horrific in their lurch.
The lizard’s throat, held bloated for a fly,
Balloons but warily from this throbbing perch.
 
The needles and hack-saws of cactus bleed
A milk of earth when stricken off the stalk;
But this,⎯defenseless, thornless, sheds no blood,
Almost no shadow⎯but the air’s thin talk.
 
Angelic Dynamo! Ventriloquist of the Blue!
While beachward creeps the shark-swept Spanish Main
By what conjunctions do the winds appoint
Its apotheosis, at last⎯the hurricane!

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