Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Nata 1918 - Morta 1920 - Little Rosalia

It was in Palermo I recall that overcast day
unlike the majority of my splendorous stay
Architecture so grand, regal and proud
Sicilians all hurrying despite the great crowd
The "Boot" of the mainland not far away indeed
was calling me back as if I were it's seed
But that same morning I had but one agenda
to see Rosalia Lombardo, yes, still ever so tender
See, she was the highlight, a Capuchin claim to fame
yet I wanted to spy it all, every monk, every lane
which housed her mates, all still in their death
straddled side by side, long since their last breath
All the ruins I had seen each day since the start
had not prepared me at all for the feelings today would impart
Not once did I ponder where all the people had gone
I was overly enthralled with the heft, with the brawn
But when I entered the cavernous mausoleum of sorts,
the catacombs with walls lined with lime not with quartz
there was a coolness in the air, it was natural they said
perhaps this is what helped in preserving their dead
Eight thousand in all literally hung in this abode
all shapes and all sizes, to many this had been bestowed
as the best place to lie, some stately some royal
some prone in mock coffins, some laid in a coil
Wilted bouquets, relics and toys lined almost each wall
dates to the sixteenth century could be made out in scrawl
Skeletons, mummy like, bones, hair and clothes
at first was horrific, should have been sacred, not exposed
Slowly I walked my way down each section and saw
that I was not the only person pulled by the draw
of the dead that were here for each eye to view
perhaps this is what helped make me construe
That this was not eerie, not disgusting not vile
I thought "these are their memorials" and managed a smile
Twas then the sensation hit me with a great whack
I had been "Stung by the Splendor of Sudden Black."


Michelle Johnson said...

Deathsweep, this is an excellent poem. Such a poignant tribute to the dead. I love the way you used the Tuesday Title. It gave such a strong closing. As for you not writing in some time, you haven't skipped a beat. Nice job. Have a nice day.

paisley said...

oh i love it.. and that photo!!! wow... if yo gotta pop in and leave us a little something,,, this was definitely an excellent choice!!!!!

so good to hear from you!!!!

Pam said...

You have some wonderful lines in this piece. I especially like, "calling me back as if I were it's seed". And what a photo!