Excerpt – Orpheus Descending – Tennessee Williams

VAL: You know they’s a kind of bird that don’t have legs so it can’t light on nothing but has to stay all its life on its wings in the sky? That’s true. I seen one once, it had died and fallen to earth and it was light blue colored and its body was tiny as your little finger, that’s the truth, it had a body as tiny as your little finger and so light on the palm of your hand it didn’t weigh more than a feather, but its wings spread out this wide but they was transparent, the color of the sky and you could see through them. That’s what they call protection coloring. Camouflage, they call it. You can’t tell those birds from the sky and that’s why the hawks don’t catch them, don’t see them up there in the high blue sky near the sun!

LADY: How about in grey weather?

VAL: They fly so ghigh in grey waether the goddam hawks would get dizzy. But those little birds they don’t have no legs at all and they live their whole lives on the wing, and they sleep on the wind, that’s how they sleep at night, they just spread their wings and go to sleep on the wind like other birds fold their wings and go to sleep on a tree…They sleep on the wind and…Never light on this earth but one time when they die!

LADY: I’d like to be one of those birds.

VAL: So’d I like to be one of those birds, they’s lots of peole would like to be one of those birds and never be –corrupted!

LADY: If one of those birds ever dies and falls on the ground and you happen to find it, I wish you would show it to me because I think maybe you just imagine there is a bird of that kind in existence. Because I don’t think nothing living has ever been that free, not even nearly.

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