Tuesday, November 29, 2011


I am reading and commenting The Love Song of J.Alfred Prufrock. A work gaining momentum with subtlety and tragedy. One cannot but identify with The Great Loser and his increasing sense of failure, paradoxically it seems almost a success, or am I exaggerating?


Probably the most powerful and dramatic image is:

I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.

That celebrates, putting together, desperation, strength, vastness, loneliness, motion and silence.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


These words of doubt in the mind
and silence, looking
out of the train window
at the marshland mantled
in familiar, grey blankness,
a silhouetted world
the heart mimics
in self-defence.

Barges in the shallows,
in the still swarm of dots,
stuck in their outlines
of seaweeds and slime;
a seagull’s slowly beating wings
soon swallowed by the sky,
you hear a cackling call
and rest for an instant in its wake
and think –in this way
I would like to pass, in a silence
broken and reaffirmed,
I would like to last
for a full long howl
with nothing to insert.

Not these words, threads
that spill over on the silvery damp
and linger undone, in their maze,
having to start all over again,
not these words
when your turn comes,
these lines leaving lines
not these words
consumed in the curls
of their own utterance,

but just this sky-swarm in silence
and, in the strength of blindness,
a cry that doesn’t need a why,
like out of the womb’s.

This poem appeared in "Pushing Out The Boat", Issue 10 ( North-East Scotland's Magazine of New Writing).
I think it is my most recent "fog-born" poem... in these days the fog is back in Venice and in the flat countryside nearby giving that full typical sense of autumn-winter, that enveloping feeling of closeness, despite the damp and cold, and light from shops and windows filtered in an almost blindness, a sort of "braille" of the soul.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


I have seen the sun break through
to illuminate a small field
for a while, and gone my way
and forgotten it. But that was the pearl
of great price, the one field that had
the treasure in it. I realize now
that I must give all that I have
to possess it. Life is not hurrying

on to a receding future, nor hankering after
an imagined past. It is the turning
aside like Moses to the miracle
of the lit bush, to a brightness
that seemed as transitory as your youth
once, but is the eternity that awaits you.

I have chosen this with other two of his poems thinking about some lessons I would like to prepare on him for school.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


A student of mine went to a Dylan's concert yesterday in Padua,
he is still doing concerts at seventy and she the same age I was
when I heard him first, forty years ago.

In the meantime it now seems our Prime Minister is leaving at last,
a sense of outrage for his existence as a politician has never left
some of us, for twenty years or so.

Things persist but, thank God, also finish, all in time’s show.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


The sea after the storm, a neat, roughed up skin,
that is exactly what your own skin now wishes and gets,
goose-bumps glittering with foam and sunlight
haze-free in the clashing roar, the wave-crests charging upon the shore,
the wilderness’ marrow expanding in the morning.

After bathing in the sizzling frenzy
you sit and shiver and sense the simplicity
of Buddha’s all-is-an-illusion flash,
he must have never left what you are now touching for a moment

the quickness, the quicksilver sweeping strength of things,
he must have felt the utter joy
of sitting still while being swept away

as he had always been, in the park under the banyan tree,
far from the storm, the river flat in the heat.

This poem was published by Nimrod ( The Muse of Attachment) Tulsa, U.S., in 2005.
After six years I have just submitted again to this magazine.

Friday, November 4, 2011


I am saying to myself
-be slow and taste
the autumn path, the leaves
orange and yellow, the shot
of their quivering glow.

On the rise walking
is hard, you hear the rhythm
of your breath’s labours
and smell the bonfire
of the dregs of the season.

But I’m never slow enough,
never stop enough
by the leaves’ countenance
that’s behind and beyond skin,
I can just briefly glimpse their sea
that distracts into concentration.

November is fast
like the after dinner sleep,
it slips quietly away
in a carpet of orange leaves
decomposing into the turf,
our softest burial.

No, I’m never slow enough
except in memory:
in fog waves the turf of a ditch
is close and bright, and slightly trembles
and these words are ants in the mulch
dragging embers.