Postcards

Just to Say, as you departed…


I saw you take your seat
before the train arranged its linkings
on the track, spewed and shouted,
moved like thunder cracking,
across the aisle where our eyes
would not meet to answer my last query.
 I believed I’d soon grow teary
as the dark beast lumbered on
but found that I too have a freshened view
and see that I am as relieved as you.







Assisi	  		Once Upon a Time

											
Dear One, 
You must, must! 
know about the olive trees,
their subtle grayish sheen, so you will
understand why I stay and will stay---
to hear the bells that wake each day to these.
And oh, yes, the slender cobbled road,
the grape vines draped across their housings
as they drowse, and hay swept and gathered tight
in pointed home-like shapes
beside the hill.

Did I Mention

Did I mention how
kind and light I grew 
when I turned this morning
to the atrium, its brick still wet with dew,
where the red tin table waits always 
beside the lavender, and water bubbles 
from a pipe in the little pond? 
Not only that:
a hummingbird dipped in and fed!
Yet you were gone.
Come back and see. I beg you to.
Something Today about Soup

I had not recognized when I sat down to eat
that the good of soup, besides its ease,
is heat. Its steaming, on the whole,
caresses, warms, tucks into winter noon
a swoon of nurture virtuously savored, 
and allows me then to stoop  
to have a chocolate or a piece of cake,
so favored over soup.



Par Avion        March 17, 1963


Dear one, my dear, still having fun 
and studying French things here.
Last night a parade, the band that marched
loud and shrill for some fête 
and stirred a well l
ike a green drink fizzed
and I stepped in, joined them, 
marched my solo self, some free-verse in mind 
without of course an instrument
 (you’ve said I have no ear, can’t keep time) 
but without fear, just—you’ll love this--
a brand-new something rising
with its boom-boom-earth-deep voice, 
me singing so loud I seemed in tune: 
see me, see me, 
and the tuba player, why, he (don’t look)
gusted me forward with that huge breath,
up like a wild storm twisting me high, 
and sorry, but I stopped to kiss him
when he released his lips and shiny it was, 
there left on the ground, the tuba insisting,
and shiny what I’d found.


From Bergamo

Dear Friend,

The snow fell hard
on our valley and morning
crouched in our glittery eyes
and in our huddled bones.
For the ride from here to there the children
pulled wool caps--the ones you knitted--
down to their eyes
and I, two scarves, and all of us
wrapped like sheep.

But the men repairing roads
outside the upper city 
toiled in short-sleeve tees,
their cold-scalded skin
a rosy pink. They, undisturbed,
waved us by, talking to each other
with their hands,
and I've been wondering
how perception, one day to the next
alters one's reception
of hot or cold, pain, or can or can't,
how it selects; and
if there exist no absolutes,
but only elements in flex.

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