Monday, 3 October 2011

Italian poem No 5.


The eyes of David,
the eternal vigilante,
warn the approaching tourist
from beneath their jutting brow.
Stone cold flesh
glows palely in the sunlight.
Herakles is pausing for a moment
before he murders Cacus
and not far away
Judith, the Queen of Israel,
slits the throat
of one Holofernes,
while on his almost-Nouveau pedestal
the hero Perseus
holds up the frightful head
of the Medusa.
Thus of old
did Florence put on show
intolerance of tyrants!
Rising up before me,
brick on brick
and crowned with battlements and mighty tower
stands the Palazzo Vecchio,
home of the republic.
I pan my camera up the building-
just beneath the cornice is a row of shields,
and on each shield, an emblem.
Holding still, I zoom the image
and I read the word
proclaimed in letters gold
against an azure field.

That night 
at Barbara's cosy pensione 
I play my movie back, 
and it is there! 
I hear it every time; 
the voices coincide 
just as if I wrote a script! 
Above the general noises of the square, 
so faint and far away and yet so clear 
I hear a man's voice shouting, fierce and free- 
it cries 
and then again, 
pale as an echo and more high and wild 
a woman's voice cries 

©Tamsyn Taylor 
 Picture: CC. Georges Jansoone, 2005, from Wikimedia Commons

No comments:

Post a Comment