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This is a poem about traveling from Punta Arenas, Chile, to Ushuaia, Argentina, traversing the southern Patagonian and Tierra del Fuego of both countries.

INTO THE LAND OF FIRES

L_caputoby Lorraine Caputo18 Sep 2014

I.
The phantom full moon
meets the morning sun
gilding a broad band
across the Strait of Magellan

II.
On the higher pampas
guanacos crunch
the icy snow with
each stride of their grazing

In a rime-edged pond
rose flamingos huddle

A solitary ñandú
gazes across the plain

III.
Again along the Estrecho
its waters deep-
steel-blue, fringed by
stiff paja brava

IV.
Upon these shores strewn
with centuries of wrecked ships
rust the ruins of an estancia

V.
A herd of guanaco startles
& flees through the grass,
russet-headed caiquén
take wing

VI.
Across the First Narrows
of Magellan’s Strait
to Tierra del Fuego, its
autumn-gold steppes
marked by the soft step
of guanaco, southern
clouds periwinkle
in the noon sun

VII.
A northern wind whips the
hair of chapped-face men
leading horses, whips the
fur of their dogs, the
fleece of their sheep

VIII.
A rainbow arcs
from the now-hilly land,
into the snow-laden sky

IX.
Magellan Geese fly
low over this frozen
Land of Fires swept
by winds swirling across
frosty lagoons

On the far southern horizon
scrapes Darwin’s
glaciered range

X.
Guanaco shelter
in rocky tors
sculpted by the wind
into abstract
lace towers

XI.
The harsh gale
rustles the manes
of wild mustangs
atop a knoll, scouting
the pampas below

XII.
Faintly Iris’ arch
washes the clouds
above almost-winter plains

Frigidly the ocean gleams
beneath the weak
austral sun

XIII.
Twilight drapes its royal-
blue cape across the steppes,
a fiery full moon rises
over Tierra del Fuego

XIV.
I search the clear night
for that Crux Australis
to lead me to the shores
of Beagle Channel

XV.
Moonlight bathes the snow,
silhouettes Northofagus
& ghostly mountains
streaked with frozen
cascades

ñandú—Lesser Rhea (Pterocnemia pennata)
Estrecho—the Spanish name for the Magellan Strait is Estrecho de Magallanes
paja brava—a wild grass (Festuca spp)
caiquén—Magellan Goose (Chloephaga picta)
Cruz Australis—the Southern Cross
Northofagus—family of larch & beech trees

published in :
Leaves of Ink (19 October 2013)
http://www.leaves-of-ink.com/2013/10/into-land-of-fires.html