THE OLD WOMAN
Who sits in her yard Every day Beside a flag Tied to a stick
Is trying to Nail down America.
She is afraid It will take off From under her feet, Piloted by long-haired Chinese astronauts.Hays is perhaps most remembered as the editor of 12 Spanish American Poets, originally published by Yale University Press in 1944, then reissued in 1972 by Beacon Press. The Beacon Press edition is one I return to a couple of times a year, not for the superstars in it–Borges, Huidobro, Neruda, Vallejo–but for the lesser known poets who in my opinion spoke with similar authenticity and force, among them Ramón López Velarde, Luis Carlos López, Jorge Carrera Andrade, and José Gorostiza. I should add that Hays also gave me my first experience of Brecht‘s poetry, and that of Juan Ramón Jiménez. But after all is said and done, it’s his old flag-bound woman with her fear of Asian hippies that sticks in my mind. If she’s still alive, she’ll surely be at Trump’s rally tonight….