Sicilian Idylls

 

 

View from the Mountain

 

From here the sea

seems calm as the folds

in a renaissance rendering

of Mary’s robes. And if you turn

to the west, the hills resemble

the turtles you saw huddled in the sun

at a pond in the Palermo gardens. The trees

are bonsai––intimate though distant,

their forms surveyable. The train tracks

and tunnels recall childhood afternoons.

You could almost bend down and

lift the valley chapel with your hands.

Its bells quietly toll. Counting six strokes,

you wonder if the quality of time

is dependent on the timekeeper.

The snaking cars are silent.

You only hear (despite the contrails)  

the squealing of swifts and a breeze

through the bushes. When you sit on a stone

among wild flowers in mid-bloom,

the mosaic in Monreale comes to mind,

of God on the seventh day

seated at the centre of his garden,

how his surroundings seemed real

yet internal to his mind.

 

 

View from the Shore

 

Over the darkening water

the distant mountains are simplified  

to magenta silhouettes––erasing all trace   

of apartment blocks constructed in the sixties and

the growling motorway that tunnels through the limestone;      

they’re almost immaterial, a watercolour landscape.

 

Behind them is a realm of light,

enigmatic as portrayals of a golden age  

in the distant past or future, outside time.    

An arc of clouds hovers around the illumined air––

a mosaic of six-winged seraphs with feathers of flame     

guarding a cathedral entrance. Only our eyes

cross into that realm. Over small waves                 

that turn and break their darkened glass

on the shore, a gull departs.

 

 

Anonymous

 

What about the chestnut tree in the cemetery,

replete with foliage, erecting

countless steeples of blossoms––

each consisting of images

that capture the essence in a couple of strokes,

a dash of red or yellow on white––

and the perfect fragments

blown to the grass?

Does anyone else

come here to see them,

the displays of this artist

unknown even to herself?