Piazza Mazzini

The benches in the new square are made of old marble. Children trace their fingers across eroded inscriptions and call out random letters and words. Cars double circle the square, prayers for a parking space unheard at this hour.

The yellow dog in the blackest shade of the trees lifts its head as if to question life, shakes its ears loose and lays down again, one rear paw twitching. It does not move when the rain starts; it knows its place is dry. Parents grasp children and run through the lines of cars, pressing their backs against the walls and windows of shops, sheltering below the mock-baroque balconies.

As street vendors circle the square with hastily procured umbrellas, the rain suddenly stops. Pavements steam and waiters wipe tables. The dog lifts its head again. 

Lecce, 19 September 2021

Full moon rises red

Full moon rises red above the crescent river
Skewed angle opposite the fallen sun
A reluctant breeze breathes the scent of fresh-crushed thyme
Flowers dried too soon on stem, roots anchored in white rock

Beyond the darkness deep down in the ravine
The wild boar root red-eyed and snuffle
For now they stay in shadows, out of earshot
but still we know of their hot blood’s existence
and, in that knowledge, know our own

For Maurizio, Mariella and Michele
Matera 10 July 2017

Rossa la luna piena sorge

Rossa la luna piena sorge sulla curva del torrente
Appena uno scarto nel suo stare di fronte al sole caduto
Una brezza riluttante respira il profumo del timo dal tocco liberato
I fiori appassiti sugli steli, le radici ancorate nella bianca roccia

Dietro l’oscurità in basso giù nella gravina
I cinghiali con occhi rossi scavano e annusano
Per ora sono fermi nelle ombre, celati al nostro ascolto
eppure sappiamo dell’esistenza del loro sangue caldo
e, in questo sapere, sappiamo di essere

Traduzione di Maurizio, Mariella, Michele e Karen

Evening in Naples

Ross leaned on the sill and looked out of the open evening window, called by the swifts. They swerved above, katana wings cutouts against the dipping sun; below, silhouettes of scythes sped across the late-drying sheets that hung from the balconies. He had seen them at home, where the Water reached the northern sea, but here they tumbled in shrieking crowds between the close red buildings and across the shining bay. He could go and get his camera or – no, perhaps not. It was enough to see them, and hear their bosun whistles, and remember them. His heart was of the sea and his hands of the sun; their cries were in his ears, and he smiled.