Got trolls? Worse yet, anonymous trolls, or trolls with names, but fake URLs and go-nowhere e-mail addresses? One of mine today suggests that I volunteer for service in Iraq. Another believes this site dispenses unauthorized academic advice. Perhaps these discreet souls would like to read a note – signed, with an authentic return address – from an actually brave person:
El Chipote Encampment, Via San Fernando
12 July 1927
To: Captain G. D. Hatfield, El Ocotal
I am in receipt of your communication from yesterday, and I understand it. I will not surrender and I am waiting for you here. I want a free country, or death. I am not afraid of you; I rely on the patriotic ardor of my companions.
Patria and Freedom
A. C. Sandino
Come to think of it, we might send a similar note to the authors of the Iraq war.
The day is so beautiful, the earth is so cool and fresh, and the flowers are blooming so well, that it is hard to believe it is not spring. The postman has come, and I have received two books: my friend’s prize-winning poetry collection, and our friend’s excellent English translation of it. I will be speaking of them at the prize ceremony next month, and I am touched to have been asked.
I did not know that this edition of my friend’s book had an afterword by José Emilio Pacheco, from whom I took a class long ago. On the first day, he said that to be a poet was to serve the language, and this was what he considered himself to be doing. The language, and, as he says in the afterword I have at hand, “the perpetual poem.”