A letter to Wilde, Whitman, and Neruda | Nicole Lachat

 This post is a part of The Wanderer’s poetry section, which features emerging poetry talent from the University of Alberta and abroad. Featuring a wide range of voices and themes, we hope that these poetic posts bring imagination and creativity to your day. To submit your works for consideration, please contact Neekoo Collett at neekoo@ualberta.ca.

When I’m feeling down, I read the words you left behind.

With a side of tea I traverse the scenery of my living room

Into the romance of your lives that stir me still, in their stillness.


I am your mourner and the outcast of man, *

Imprisoned as you were for things you cannot change

behind laws and the empty minds of those who are loveless.

I think of freedom, how I will never know it, but only admire it

From a far- like a lovely stranger in a red trench coat, whose bright

Simplicity amongst the hurried marketplace offers you a pause-

I think of how impossible freedom is, how I’ve come closest to tasting it

In your words. You draw out laughter from tedium to raise a little hope;

I remember how you pushed on, greeting hatred with love

And death with wit and I think, perhaps I shall too.


To you, my first beloved American:

All the answers of metaphysics lie in the geography of your poetry, in the curl

Of your words. You have expanded the entire universe from one atom,

And suddenly, the world is at my fingertips, you have made it real.

I am taken out of myself by the delicate splendor of a leaf of grass

And brought to believe in a god who is somehow for all of us, in all of us.

Your rhetoric has carved wakeful dreaming into the pits of my eyes, blown away

the Dust of heavy lids. You have wrung out from a flawed humanity: glory and

beauty. You have celebrated yourself and every stranger in equal- you celebrated

my Existence when I dared not, when I had no hope to spare.


My sweet fellow of warm sun and hope filled eyes:

I read what you have left here as if it were written for me,

From some love we once shared years before my birth.

Your words resonate within the sacred lining of a life well lived in.

Sitting on cool tiles, at the foot of a graying heart, I attend your sermon

And leave believing that there are a hundred ways to love one person.

Teach me what you know, let me be your disciple. Your church I would attend

Religiously- I who do not attend religion ceremoniously. More than politics

More than war- and its sidewalk diplomacy- you waged life on the page,

Striking it down, bloodying it with your hope filled ink that will always read green.


These words to you my loved ones I leave,

With accusing gratitude- you have disrobed my complacency,

My render to mediocrity and entrenched me with belief-

That life is worth living, and literature worth consuming, bottle after bottle.

You have made me the happiest of drunks,

For I encompass the entirety of living in an afternoon with you.



* In reference to a verse in The Ballad of Reading Gaol by Oscar Wilde

Nicole Lachat is an undergraduate Psychology student at the University of Alberta, minoring in Creative Writing. Of mixed Swiss and Peruvian background, Nicole’s poetry explores themes of identity, family, mythology and belonging with precise images and an honest voice. Nicole transcends barriers of language and geography, writing in both French and Spanish about her universal journey toward self-discovery.

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  • Marcus Herrera

    This is gorgeous. Outstanding.