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My friend Michel is an army officer
in Somoto up near the Honduran border,
and he told me he had found some contraband parrots
waiting to be smuggled to the United States
to learn to speak English there.

There were 186 parrots with 47 already dead in their cages.
He drove them back where they'd been taken from
and as the lorry approached a place known as The Plains

near the mountains which were these parrots' home
(behind those plains the mountains stand up huge)
the parrots got excited, started beating their wings
and shoving against their cage-sides.

When the cages were let open
they all shot out like an arrow shower straight for their

The Revolution did the same for us I think:
It freed us from the cages where they trapped us to talk English,
it gave us back the country from which we were uprooted,
their green mountains restored to the parrots by parrot-green

But there were 47 that died.

Ernesto Cardenal
Translation by Dinah Livingstone

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