Eight Ways of Looking at Italy
We dwelt momentarily in many countries: Italy of antiquity,
Italy of vineyards and wines,
of stone monasteries set in silvery olive groves,
Italy of wisteria skies,
of elegant umbrella pines silhouetted against blue skies,
Italy of poppy and rapeseed fields,
of rugged coastlines and half-moons of beach chairs on glittery sand.
Amidst cities clad in stone
the only movement was implied --
Oceanus commanding the waters, boats sinking and spouting,
gods taming rivers, hot oil poured from medieval skyscrapers,
gladiators fighting to death,
thirteen obelisks converging on Rome.
On ancient maps, Italia was a wobbly sketch of boot,
a pink country jutting into the blue
Tyrrhenian and Mediterranean Seas,
a fashionable high-heeled boot,
flirting with, beckoning,
all the edges of Europe, Asia and Africa.
The Holy Trinity – the Father, Son and Holy Spirit –
the Virgin Mary, the saints, and all the heavenly hosts,
breathed in paintings, sculptures and churches.
In marble, David, slayer of Goliath, was enlivened,
and in small smooth statues of the Virgin
hand-held in supplication.
Cypress trees danced frantically in gusts,
innuendos of restlessness.
Cobblestones soaked up rain,
turned slick and mirrored the moon,
which floated behind heavy clouds.
Roads curled though mountains and hills
transporting travelers to medieval times.
Tempting were the country’s displays of cellophane-wrapped pasta,
its jars of olives, its cloves of garlic hung on string,
its ravioli with fresh truffle,
its pansotti with walnut sauce,
its tortellini in meat broth, its gnocchi, its pasta with chicory,
its zuppa toscana,
its Picio Cacio e pepe,
its rainbow displays of gelato.
Flights to the heights were hard-fought,
climbs ever-upward in hilltop towns
within labyrinths of tightly clustered lanes,
climbs for tower views over terracotta rooftops
and inundating green hills,
climbs to fortress ruins,
to catch horizon glimpses on the wings of sparrows.
We had a surprise encounter with the Fiat 500 Club Italia.
The little cars zipped through Asciano,
cutting a wake through our path,
singing musical ditties,
like children in colorful raincoats.
In the midst of heavy history,
moments of joviality.
Trevi Fountain, Rome
David at Accademia
wisteria in Panzano
road to Volterra
Fiats in Asciano
on a road in Tuscany
“POETRY” Invitation: I invite you to write a poem of any poetic form on your own blog about a particular travel destination. Or you can write about travel in general. Concentrate on any intention you set for your poetry.
One of my intentions for my trip to Italy was to write a “thirteen ways of looking” poem, where I focus on a single subject and reexamine it in a series of imaginative leaps (Poetry Everywhere, p. 173). I narrowed it to eight ways of looking.
I waited way too long to write this poem. Italy as a subject was much too broad. I should have focused on one aspect. I’ll have to work on another poem of this type with a much narrower focus.
You can either set your own poetic intentions, or use one of the prompts I’ve listed on this page: writing prompts: poetry. (This page is a work in process). You can also include photos, of course.
Include the link in the comments below by Thursday, August 6 at 1:00 p.m. EST. When I write my post in response to this challenge on Friday, August 7, I’ll include your links in that post.
This will be an ongoing invitation, on the first Friday of each month. Feel free to jump in at any time.
I hope you’ll join in our community. I look forward to reading your posts!