Three Stops in Italy 2021

1. Bologna

Bologna is bright in brick
Pink, orange, gold, terracotta,
Colonades overhang the sidewalks
Squares bulge with leafy little parks.

The streets wind and circle.
There is an old gate,
Two crooked towers that students must not climb,
One grand cathedral square.

It is hard to find a way inside.
But inside holds surprises,
Frescoed libraries, art high up,
Just one kind of perfect hand made pasta.

2. Padua

Padua is a city of pilgrims,
Our hotel is a converted monastery,
St Anthony’s basilica is a shrine
Where pilgrims pray unembarrassed.

In the Baptistery the whole bible
Frescoes every inch of wall
In detail, from Genesis to Revelation
With its glorious many-necked beasts.

There are market stalls with books,
Clothes, cables, cold meats, burrata,
At night in the park the unexpected moon
Looms over unexpected domes.

3. Venice

Venice dissolves into mist,
Reassembles itself,
Islands blur together,
Separate into crystal.

In the park, leaves mark transitions.
On the water, light always shimmers,
A sinister glittering robe
Casually tossed over celestial beauty.

But if you are not charmed,
Venice doesn’t give a toss.
Who were you anyway?
Hurry away, all the more for the rest of us.

31st August 2021