Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Americas: Vol. XXX. 1876–79.

West Indies: Cuba, the Island


By John Townsend Trowbridge (1827–1916)

(From Guy Vernon)

CUBA seems

The later western Eden of our planet.

What wafted incense from the gate of dreams,

What heavenly zephyrs hover o’er and fan it!

With groves of orange, mango, and pomegranate,

And flowering forests through whose wealth of blooms,

Like living fires, dart birds of gorgeous plumes.

There by still bays the tall flamingo stands;

The sunrise flame of whose reflected form

Crimsons the glassy wave and glistening sands.

There, large and luminous, throughout the warm,

Soft summer eves myriads of fireflies swarm;

Like the bright spirits of departed flowers

Nightly revisiting their native bowers.

Its own rich, varying world the isle enfolds;

Where glowing Nature seems most prodigal

Of life and beauty; where the eye beholds

Orchards that blossom while their ripe fruits fall;

Mountains, refulgent vales; and, curved round all,

From some palm-crested summit seen afar,

The gleaming ocean’s steel-bright scimitar.