If you read poetry, you probably know who Neruda is. However, there is a Chilean poet called Nicanor Parra who might be better.
Because I just encountered Parra’s “anti-poetry” and am in open-mouthed awe, I will be featuring his work for the next few weeks. Below is a poem about the pope that I liked for its humor, but also because it treats its subject with grace.
The Poems of the Pope
They just elected me Pope:
I’m the most famous man in the world!
Now I’m at the top of the ecclesiastical profession
and I can die in peace
The Cardinals are angry
because I don’t treat them like I used to
but I’m the Pope goddamm it…
First thing tomorrow
I’ll move into the Vatican
The title of my address:
How to Succeed in the Ecclesiastical Profession
Congratulations are pouring in
every newspaper in the world
has my picture on the front page
and one thing’s for sure:
I look much younger than I really am
Ever since I was a boy
I wanted to be Pope
why’s everybody so surprised
I worked like a dog
to get what I wanted
Holy Mother of God
I forgot to bless the multitude!
Translated from the Spanish by Edith Grossman