She sleeps amid a glassy sea
Half-sunk by flanking tides
Were it blood now blossoms rust
Marching up her sides
Had once a man held her reins,
Her belly swoll'n with fire?
A serpent tongue lashing forth
Scortching sand and briar?
Oh, the glory she once sought
Tearing through this brazen beach
Though shot nor spear could spare her
A sephalcure so pleached
Years and winds burned past her
Young hands now splash her jaw
If worth be earned in fight alone
The mightest may fall
For victor is her dying breath
As land reclaims her bones
The sea is her commander
The glory is her own
In the depths of winter, summer fades to near mythology while the cold months drag on. With a frost-nipped nose pressed to the rim of a coffee mug, we reminisce on days when the sun warmed our skin with lazy kisses or when the sand dug into the soles of our feet. This longing drew my pen to the page.
Inspiration for this piece lies exactly where the title suggests: an abandoned tank on Flamenco Beach. For those of you who’ve yet to experience the pleasure, Flamenco Beach is a gorgeous strip of virgin-white sand on a small island off the coast of Puerto Rico. Beautiful and clean, it’s a hidden gem in the heart of the Caribbean. However, if you walk the length of the beach, you’ll find this unusual treasure:
On an otherwise pristine landscape, a hulking tank left to rust in the sand is a bit shocking. As it turns out, American solider once used this lovely little island for training exercises before World War II. During this time, an array of equipment (including tanks) ended up on Cuelbra’s shores. However, after local protesting in the early 1970s, soldiers evacuated the base, leaving their tanks to rot where they stood. Though much of the other gear was cleaned up, the massive chunks of metal simply could not be moved.
Creative locals have taken the time to paint the sides of these tank with lively graffiti, giving an oddly cheerful air to the ruined bones of war. Certainly, nowhere else in the world will you find a perfectly jarring juxtaposition of ruin and beauty. From this gorgeous chaos of ruin and life, my words took flight.
So as you curl under blankets, keep a pen firmly in hand. Think back to wondrous places (or those you've yet to tread) and pluck from them the inspiration you need to keep the ink flowing. Let your travels be your guide!