We have stood for hours in front of the yellow palace
In winter-yellow Rome, waiting for the Pope.
He should have passed at two, now it is after four,
But the long crowd stretching along the route
Is content to wait-except for the restless Americans
Who shuffle and keep deciding not to wait,
And keep on waiting, wondering at themselves.
They look at the velvet cloths hanging from windows,
Richly colored and faded like old ball-dresses,
And the candles fluttering on stone ledges, for it is getting quite
It is getting quite dark but nobody moves,
And His Holiness must be getting very hungry.
He is not a well man.
But suddenly in the distance,
Somewhere up near the Baths of Caracalla,
Which is just a ruined hole in the ground
There’s a sound of cheering like a small dam breaking,
And the cheering rises and rises down the street
Till it engulfs us and we become the source
And all are drowned by surrounding cheers and bravos.
And there he is in a funny old limousine
Going about twenty miles an hour, sitting so straight and waving,
Wax-pale under the weak electric light
Shining down on his dome in the plush back seat,
The intelligent Pacelli, who is about to die.