Vivian Smith


Le Cimetiere du Montparnasse 2011

I was almost drifting up the avenue
heading for the tomb of Baudelaire.
Names were flowing back into my mind—
my year in Paris 1959—
Sartre, Ionesco, Jouve and Ponge—
when suddenly I saw a quiet group
looking for a place they could not find.
It proved to be the tomb of Vallejo,
a poet many love, his work revered.
Who were they, self-contained and whispering,
students, fellow poets, refugees?
They must have been Peruvians I’m sure,
they knew his work, his worth, his world.
They crossed themselves, and stood there, full of care.



Vivian Smith lives in Sydney. His most recent collection is Here, There and Elsewhere: New Poems (Giramondo, Sydney, 2012). He co-edited Windchimes: Asia in Australian Poetry (Pandanus Books, 2006).