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Old 05-05-2018, 05:30 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Default Italiano

Italiano

There is an email headed Italiano
perched in my inbox, where a second reads
Spring Grades Due, a third Greetings. I do not
believe in clutter. And it seems to me
that I can almost picture Italy,
its pigeons and piazzas, in that light
and airy word. I see the olive groves
of childhood with their silver leaves. I see
the narrow streets, and there are car horns honking,
there’s fresh-baked bread. And flooding through my mind
comes Dante’s terza rima, just as bright
as when I bent above the cantiche,
marking each scribbled margin. I recall
proud Farinata rising from his tomb
to greet a fellow Tuscan. And the air
of that warm land, I feel it now. I see
the batch of bread I oversalted, at
ten or eleven, and the baker’s smile;
I see the singing villages, upon
the ridge that is the Apennines, and Rome,
and Naples with its washing and the broad
sweep of the bay. I see the cypresses
and vineyards and the cobblestones. I see
each bright Madonna in her niche, above
the busy throng who speak that dancing tongue.

5.v.2018
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Old 05-05-2018, 06:08 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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I guess I should say what I'm thinking here: would anyone like to post any country poems? A bit Romantic, but then why not after all?

Cheers,
John

Update: here's an English one.


Limpid Pool

In England, it is light at 5 a.m.,
in late June. The cathedrals greet the dawn
in Durham, Ely, Lincoln, and the stone
is sun-touched and untroubled. All the birds
we saw in cases will be singing, and
such flowers as appear in June will be
at work, at this hour. In the coastal markets,
they’ll be unloading fish. The slippery
weight of them! Take one home with you, you won’t
regret your choice. Along the motorways
and byways, early traffic rumbles – past
the hedgerows and the lay-bys, past the tall
still-sleeping towns, the office blocks and spires –
en route from A to B. The corner shops
will open soon, as day begins; the sky
already is pale blue, and not a planet
swims in its limpid pool. I have a hunch
it might rain. For the day is long, and none
can guarantee the future. Off the coast
of England, in the North Sea, in the Channel,
or in the broad Atlantic, you will see
the shipping ride the sea swell, and the gulls
pursue it. Maybe there will come a scrap
or morsel fit for eating, in this dawn!

Oxford, 1.vii.2016

Last edited by John Isbell; 05-05-2018 at 06:15 AM.
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Old 05-06-2018, 05:41 AM
Nigel Mace Nigel Mace is offline
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I don't often do this kind of thing but an Oldie comp once triggered a seriously meant tribute to my second home. It came out like this.

ITALY

From Leonardo’s distance to the pitch of roofs,
from cherry-loping vines to loggias of ease,
the shifting shapes of light across this land are proofs
that patinas from cultured living still best please;
that swelling slope, its Raphael-cypress crest,
those sprawling cities skewered by ancient towers
whose distant campaniles’ peelings blessed
a world, which they bequeathed
to rest, with longing at the heart of ours.

And scything through its spine and constant mountains, sweep
futurist lanes that speed bella figura’s wheels,
while elegant design and daring colours leap
from every corso’s travertine, so sight appeals
to jaded retinas, and with life feeds
a longing long remembered from some past
in which we’d known what truly fills our needs -
joy in human pleasures,
that last as long as this land and its deeds.
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Old 05-06-2018, 07:10 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Good morning Nigel,

I like this very much. The richness of the vocabulary seems just right for il bel paese, / Ch'Apennin' parte, e'l mar circonda; e l'Alpe. I'm not sure what "cherry-loping vines" are, but I love them already!

Cheers,
John
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Old 05-06-2018, 09:40 AM
Nigel Mace Nigel Mace is offline
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Thank you very much, John. The "cherry-loping vines" are part of some of the more old-fashioned properties in the northern Marche where the remains of the Roman fashion of cultivation survive (as they also do elsewhere in slightly different form, e.g. the Val d'Aosta) in having fruit trees/bushes planted to make early use of the supports for the vines - sometimes anchored on pillars of stones which create mini pergolas. (My little city is actually called Pergola and we are in the middle of cherry country; next stop, up one road, is Morello.)

My compliments too on yours. I especially liked "the busy throng who speak that dancing tongue" and the Auden echoes in your second - especially in your closing lines.
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Old 05-06-2018, 10:55 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Nigel, thank you for that fascinating glimpse into the Italian countryside and its Roman survivals. Italy is a youngish country, I guess, but an old countryside.
Glad you enjoyed my stuff.

Cheers,
John
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Old 05-06-2018, 02:31 PM
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RCL RCL is offline
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Teen Passeggiata

On sultry village nights, teens stroll
in silence, sway with subtlety,
their rhythms smooth and sensual,
this festa da ballo on the square
a stately courtship ritual.

In cities adolescents pace
to hot CDs and chirping phones,
and even ancient Napoli
hosts lively Fiat promenades
on Via Spaccanapoli—

like US kids who cruise the aves
in Chevy coupes, on Harley hogs,
and pause to honk, exchange hellos
or pick-up lines—while radios
articulate uncertainties.
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Old 05-06-2018, 06:21 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Ralph,

I enjoyed that a good deal. Italy seems to fire the imagination!

Cheers,
John
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Old 05-09-2018, 02:45 PM
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Thanks, John. My parents are Sicilian, hence my interest in an argument between Greece and Sicily over who owned the Aphrodite featured at the Getty Museum. My screenplay about that conflict was nearly made into a film by the old United Artists; at least this little poem was actually published!

Double Take

My camera’s on the seven feet
of Aphrodite.* From Sicily,
this goddess wears a placid face
above the clinging chiton that
tempestuously churns about her—
a bold display of power, focused
on her rising arm. My little
girl stands dwarfed before this force.
Demure and tentative, she poses,
purses lips to hide her braces,
imitates the stance behind her
as she takes a step toward me.
My zoom lens magnifies this prize:
her wave, archaic smile and eyes.

*Repatriated to Sicily, March 2011
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Old 05-10-2018, 12:38 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Ralph,

To be the author of a United Artists near-movie is pretty cool. I like the Aphrodite poem as well. :-)

Cheers,
John
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