A Land of Contrasts
Andes, a sprawling dragon, slumbering as it grows,
the length of South America, land of vast diversity:
from Atacama desert sands to snow fields and steaming jungle.
Jagged peaks tower over salt flats and caustic lakes
where a flock of pink flamingoes - feathered, stilted Riverdancers -
move en masse, their dance of love, and never miss a beat.
Torrent ducklings dance with death, plunging into freezing water,
tumbling, racing over rocks, yet somehow they survive.
Plucky little Humboldt penguins run the gauntlet through a horde
of nursing sealions, penguin eaters; bravely elbowing their way,
trampling the recumbent bodies, rushing past the snarling mouths,
risking all to reach the sea for fish to feed their young;
a sea wherein another danger, orca - foe of penguins, glide
and leap, their snapping hungry jaws a harbinger of death.
A sheet of ice, the size of Wales, births a glacier, slowly flowing
ruthlessly, inexorably, into the southern ocean.
On rocky heights, viscachas, tiny fur-robed, rodent monks,
warm themselves, greet the sun, and mutter benedictions.
Zorros, abhorring housework, move their pups from den to den,
chased always by the guanaco who hate them with a passion.
Mists arise, revive the lofty cacti which burst into bloom,
a tasty treat for guanaco; somewhere a bromeliad
flowers once in thirty years, in hope of pollination
by humming birds which seem to thrive in disparate locations.
Flocks of jewel-bright macaws, raucous in their conversation,
fly beneath an azure sky, catch the eye and stun the senses,
Elsewhere, spectacled bears, weighing all of forty stones,
eat bromeliads, raise their young, high up in the tree tops,
while kodkod, secretive and shy, birdlike in the canopy,
kudu, tiny foot high deer dwarfed by giant greenery,
puma, sloths - green with algae, armadillos, countless creatures,
touch the heart and fill the mind with wonderment and awe.