The Great Poet Comes to Our Town

by Karen Douglass

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,
note that black beret, wonder
why passersby pass by him,

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 will 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.