National Poetry Month: “Richard Nixon Asks for Forgiveness”

I told Pat the other day that I was a proud man.

Too proud.

I had many successes.

There are events I regret of course.

But I do want to say that I seek forgiveness.

You know my mother was a devout Quaker.

She was what they would call a “true” believer.

She would sit in the meetings unspeaking

waiting for the Holy Spirit to do its thing.

She would tell me that she prayed for my soul

for the light that was hidden within me

to shine out, like Christ’s parable regarding the


I told her that I shined as much as any man –

any man in politics could. But she’d see through

the sweat.

Forgiveness is a difficult thing to ask for.

I often thought of it as showing weakness.

I could never afford to be weak.

The Catholics, as a rule, get to have their

absolution as easy as a Hail Mary

I could never be a Papist, but to each his own.

So, here I am, asking for it.

Forgive me. Mea Culpa.


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