Arrival of Godot

By Patrick T. Reardon


Comfort, yes, comfort, New Jerusalem.

Your penance is at its end.  Your guilt expiated.

Gather, you, Mayor and City Council,

in noon-sun Daley Plaza.

Line before the Picasso to greet

the one who bears it resemblance.


Block Clark and Dearborn,

Randolph and Madison for the wayfare crowds.


Hymns and canticles,

silence and darkness,

corn and wine.


A voice cries out:

On the highways, on the farmland,

in the hinterland, prepare the way.

Hear me when I call.


Go up in the tall buildings

and herald the glad tidings

at the top of your voice —

to the cities of the world,

to the hamlets and lone homes

and hermit caves.


To reporters,

earnest Lucy Richardson (48th):


     Arriver comes to Ardmore viaduct

where it happened,

retouch the flame:


          I saw my shadow. 

          I saw the face upon the wall 

          and the hand writing mysteries.


Here comes the one out of the waste land,

howling his gospel,

raving at the storm of lies.


He will ask stupid questions.

He will unsettle.

A rash on the skin, he will

give unwanted answers.


Clothesline queue of angels.

Street of chanting monks

and prophet under the willow.

God at the window.


Make straight.

Make level.

Gather the people.


From the Palmer House,

GirlJane strides in a quiet hoodie

with mountain football hero

to cluster in courthouse lobby

of red ties and sensible shoes,

for cue to sing “Star-Spangled Banner,”

microphone set up by Denmark Jones,

cords strung back to outdoor outlets

linked to grids for steady jolt of secret fire.


Awe-stand, heart-hear.

Be still. Trust. Safe-dwell.

Bask in face-light.

Here comes glory — to dwell here!

Here comes amity. Truth, a tall tree.

Justice, a meadow large enough for all.


He will silence the silent digital hammer.

Still the spinning cloud wheels.

Herd the bloat of profiteers.

Herd the generation of lost tribes.

Herd the conspiracy of trickery.


Goose call V.

Flea ghost.

The interpreter.


Comfort, yes, comfort

the translucent poor,

all hungry for forgiveness,

horde of every one.


Child of the Century,

heading out of City Hall for the el,

breaks out in song:


     Tomorrow, a mighty roar

of the passing away,

of all elements dissolving,

of the earth and every secret

found out.


Elements melting in the flames:

a new earth and a new sky

without blemish or mar.


This day is a thousand years.

A thousand years, this day.


Here, now, he is.

Here, now.


Patrick T. Reardon



This poem was initially published at Fresh Words in 2.24.



Written by : Patrick T. Reardon

For more than three decades Patrick T. Reardon was an urban affairs writer, a feature writer, a columnist, and an editor for the Chicago Tribune. In 2000 he was one of a team of 50 staff members who won a Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting. Now a freelance writer and poet, he has contributed chapters to several books and is the author of Faith Stripped to Its Essence. His website is

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