the Albatross

Sometimes for cruel sport a crew will take
The sky's leviathan, an albatross,
That easygoing escort in the wake
Of vessels drifting on the salt abyss

Out of his element. A king of kings -
But once the men have wrestled him aboard,
Pathetically, he drags those futile things
Behind him like a pair of great white oars.

This noble traveler, so graceful then,
So awkward now, and comical, and meek -
One sailor apes the sea-sick alien,
Another sticks a pipestem in his beak!

Cloud-sovereign himself, the Poet seems
To rule the storm and taunt the crossbow’ strings,
But exiled on the earth in scornful times,
Can never walk for such outlandish wings.

- Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867)