Travel to Cuba impacts everyone differently, and many IE guests have found themselves moved to poetry! A guest on our people-to-people Cuba travel program wrote a dozen poems about his experience—all are accounts of Cuba seen through the eyes of birds. James Blackburn's poetry includes stars of Cuba's endemic bird species: the Cuban trogon, the limkin, the Cuban tody and the smooth-billed ani.

The Cuban Parrot
By James Blackburn

In the mountains
North of Trinidad Cuba
Drinking mountain coffee.

The parrots assemble in the tallest tree
First two, then four, then ten
And then ten to twenty more,
All talking at the same time,
The turquoise blue wings and red neck
Standing in sharp contrast
To the green canopy.

As the coffee moves through my mind,
I see the parrots departing in pairs
And I look at my wife Garland
And see how we have flown through life –
A parrot pair moving together
From tree to tree,
Cackling and laughing,
Loving each other along the way.

The parrots move on and my cup is empty
And I feel the loss of connection
That comes from a cup of coffee
And a flock of screaming parrots
In the mountains
North of Trinidad Cuba
With my girl.


Click here to learn more about Cuba's endemic birdlife