Piazza della Signoria, 5.30 am, September 2012




Having been well trained in vertices

And versed in academic silence in galleries –

What patient intruders of a kind are we –

It still took a long, cold while to understand

The openness. For once, I was the city.

I was the memory of a marble Virgil.

I was a vacant courtyard, with my Ducal

Statue on its rear legs, poised for the charge,

Yet stone. To my right, the palace kept

Its place. The corridors of the Uffizi

Ran like a well-considered argument

As morning lifted silver from each plane.


It was society without its personage,

And a violent overthrow without dissent.

And not a soul, not one resident

Or merchant passed me by or staked his claim.

And I reread my act of composition:

For once, I was the city, I

Was the memory of a marble Virgil, I

Was a vacant courtyard trained in vertices

Because I was entirely at home,

Among the empty walkways of a dawn.



I have been a little consumptive of late: hence my lack of recent output, and also hence my retrieval of this idiosyncratic Byronic / Keats / Shelley-inspired sonnet from my travels in Italy. The architecture, the angels, the timeless beauty of Florence was overpowering. I wished so desperately to belong there.

Hope you enjoy. Until my next post I will convalesce and take herbs and ointments from the apothecary like the good, slowly-dying Romantic I am. Ciao. 


2 thoughts on “Piazza della Signoria, 5.30 am, September 2012

  1. Caro, Che bella poesia! Due anni fa eravamo a Firenze con i nostri amici, l’anno scorso eravamo a Menton tutti insieme, and la settimana prossima saremmo a Roma tutti noi. Che amicizia buona, dal 1947 a oggi. Sono fortunata. H Anche sono molto felice per ricevere le tue belle poesie. Bravo James! Mi piace molto la tua poesia Piazza della Signoria, piena di memorie e immagini.

    Mi dispiace che si senti male. Spero che vai meglio presto

    Un abbraccio, Gran Sent from my iPad

  2. Caro I do so like reading this poem aloud. It’s like poetry and music and the river and the stone. Maybe I should try to reciprocate in Rome? Saluti, Gran

    Sent from my iPad

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