THE GREAT POET COMES TO OUR TOWN
Padre Ernesto Cardenal
Innisfree Books, Boulder CO
Given his stature, I sit, stunned
by the absence of crowds chanting
his fame from the sidewalk.
He has come to us. I hear his voice,
see that black beret, wonder
why passersby pass him by,
this revolutionary, whose Spanish
I trust even in translation.
I hand him Flights of Victory to sign.
He scrawls in silence, an automaton
whose poems are all I can have of him.
They suffice. He does not need me
to worship him. I would come
to see him as another graybeard
out of time and place, not
a god-sponge come to clean us, not
a man to make of clumsy America
a new Nicaragua of the mind.