Wednesday, May 9, 2007

San Blas

Longfellow wrote “The Bells of San Blas” about this church, now a ruin. What say the Bells of San Blas/To the ships that southward pass/From the harbor of Mazatlan?/To them it is nothing more/Than the sound of surf on the shore,/Nothing more to master or man. Although apparently he was never actually here. An iguana climbs toward the sky into a hole left by a roof beam. The gutters are carved with lizards, flowers, other things I can’t make out from below near the cobweb-hung stone. Dry pods rattle in the breeze. This is the season of tamarinds. Today everyone seems to be at the fort up the hill, its canons aimed across the town and acres of mangrove swamps. A large head, probably that of one of the fathers of the current Mexican state, gazes out the plain of palms toward the beach, over the bare concrete rectangles of a hotel destroyed by hurricane.

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