I just found this poem

I was reminded yesterday of traveling alone, pre-kids, and looking forward to mail from home.  A poem I had read in the 90’s described the weary feeling- mission accomplished and looking for a small reward- so well.  I thought a peace corps volunteer had written it, but I learned otherwise.

This came about because I recently finished a major project I had worked on for several months.  It was the kind of project that sucks up your energy and free time and offers very little reward upon completion, other than not having to do it any more.  I had a final step where I had to interact with an administrative type for some minor paperwork.  She was completely uninterested and informed me that I needed to wait for a certain piece of paper for closure.  It was so anti-climatic and I was so bone-tired, the poem came to mind.  I searched for a phrase and from the wonders of the internet, there was the poem! I wanted to tuck it in here so I can visit it once in awhile.

                 Maratea Porto: The Dear Postmistress There

I run up the stairs too fast every morning

and panting for mail, I stagger inside

and there she sits wagging a negative finger.

Her frown is etched in and her mouth sour

Niente per voi today.

This is Odysseus. I’ve come a long way.

I’ve beaten a giant, real mean with one eye.

Even the sea. I’ve defeated the water.

But now I’m home, pooped. Where’s Penelope?

Niente per voi today.

My name is Joseph and this, my wife Mary.

We’ve had a long journey and Mary is heavy.

The facts are odd. The child could be holy

and I wonder, have you a room in your inn?

Niente per voi today.

I’m Ghengis Kahn and this is my army.

We’ve conquered your land. Now we want women.

Bring them today at high noon to the square.

After we’ve had them, we’ll get out of here.

Niente per voi today.

I’m Michelangelo, here to make statues.

I’ve lugged this damn marble all the way from the Alps.

I’ll need a large scaffold and plenty of ropes,

a chisel, a mallet, and oodles of wine.

Niente per voi today.

Oh, heroes of time, you’re never a hero

until you’ve endured ten days without mail.

Slaughter the stars and come home in splendor.

She’ll always be there at the end of the trail.

Niente per voi today.

                                             -Richard Hugo


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