Pablo Tac (1822–1841)


“Thus we lived among the woods until merciful God

freed us of these miseries

through Father Peyri

and seven Spanish soldiers.


In the Mission, the Fernandino Father is like

a king. He has his pages,

majordomos, musicians,

and horses by the thousand.


They made a church, a high tower with five bells

and a cemetery with a crucifix

for all who die here.

No one can dance without permission


of the elders. The garden is full of fruit trees,

but none of the neophytes

can enter the garden.

A great many crows arrive in the evening.”

André Naffis-Sahely is a poet, critic, translator, and editor. He is the author of The Promised Land: Poems from Itinerant Life and the editor of Poetry London. His second collection, High Desert, will be published in June 2022.

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