Sidewalk Poem #12

Near Arcidosso, Tuscany. July 1979.

Maybe I like this city for being
nearly unknown, off in the mountains.
Over and over the cuckoo calls from the chestnuts
this sleepy midday. Red and lemon posters 
for a circus, ORFEI, plaster every wall,
and I can imagine a humdrum Orpheus
ambling the narrow street to the bakery,
pausing to stare
at the rount fountain where a stone mask
blows a thin rope of water
into a basin, a rope without ends.
He would climb to the old castle,
baking in sunshine, where
the air is alive with bees
that build in the crumbling masonry.
What would he make of it all? Would he stand,
his eyes blurring with tears
looking back through the smoke of time
at the men and women, come and gone,
who have seen how the earth is lovely
and seen how its meanings desert them?

[Old homes in Arcidosso, Tuscany.]

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