Orpheus Descending

by Tennessee Williams

Excerpt from Act I, Scene ii: Val

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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!

They fly so high in gray weather the Goddam hawks would get dizzy. But those little birds,t hey 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 tree…
– They sleep on the wind and…
– never light on this earth but one time when they die!