Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Willa Cather's "Spanish Johnny"

Reviewing the book proofs, reading Laudato Si (more on that later), and spending quality time with my family have prevented me from posting more frequently, though several new posts are in my head, if only I can find the time to write them. In the meantime, here is a poem by Willa Cather that Garrison Keillor sang on Saturday evening when he visited town.

Spanish Johnny

The Old West, the old time,
     The old wind singing through
The red, red grass a thousand miles—
     And, Spanish Johnny, you!
He’d sit beside the water ditch
     When all his herd was in,
And never mind a child, but sing
     To his mandolin.

The big stars, the blue night,
     The moon-enchanted lane;
The olive man who never spoke,
     But sang the songs of Spain.
His speech with men was wicked talk—
     To hear it was a sin;
But those were golden things he said
     To his mandolin.

The gold songs, the gold stars,
     The word so golden then;
And the hand so tender to a child—
     Had killed so many men.
He died a hard death long ago
     Before the Road came in—
The night before he swung, he sang
     To his mandolin.
Post a Comment