Often, to amuse themselves, the crew of the ship
Would fell an albatross, the largest of sea birds,
Indolent companions of their trip
As they slide across the deep sea’s bitters.
Scarcely had they dropped to the plank
Than these blue kings, maladroit and ashamed
Let their great white wings sink
Like an oar dragging under the water’s plane.
The winged visitor, so awkward and weak!
So recently beautiful, now comic and ugly!
One sailor grinds a pipe into his beak,
Another, limping, mimics the infirm bird that once could fly.
The poet is like the prince of the clouds
Who haunts the storm and laughs at lightning.
He’s exiled to the ground and its hooting crowds;
His giant wings prevent him from walking.