Travel to Cuba impacts everyone differently. International Expeditions’ guest James Blackburn wrote a series of poems about his experiences on our people-to-people Cuba tour. James’ poetry includes stars of Cuba's endemic bird species: the Cuban trogon, the limkin, the Cuban tody and the smooth-billed ani. The piece below chronicles his first day in the country as told through the eyes of a dove.

The Morning Dove
By James Blackburn

Arriving in Camaguey
At the first stop of discovery
Of that created by Fidel and Che.

The morning dove looks over
The old mansion
Converted to duty as a ballet studio.
And while the bird is familiar,
It is already clear
That Cuba will be different.

Rather than billboards and commerce,
We are greeted by a dance troupe,
Illustrating the give and take of love
And the triumph of the arts
In the competition for time and attention
Of a society.

The dove flies away,
Taking with it any remnants
Of familiarity,
Leaving me to discover
That which was wrought
By the revolution
Led by Che and Fidel.

Learn more about Cuba’s endemic birdlife.