Caulonian Suite: III. Piazza della Carmine / The Two Times



Unable to traverse the swallow’s path
Or tread roof tiles as the agile cat,
upon his brothers’ labouring backs
A polychrome Christ will make a rough pilgrimage of His own;
Pillar bound, to that church above from this one below.

Square-shouldered, tow-haired nine-year old will run and clap
His acolyte’s bell laughingly at black curls that lap
The tender nape of his fellow impenitent in Mary’s blue.
And so this honour guard will hew
four hundred years of progress’ path
Pelligrinago from first to last,
Across the stuck in stones.


Piazza della carmine is desirous of tumbling towards the sea.
Boys gyre round parked cars in this town the Greeks begot.
A truck full of music winds lamenting through the streets;
Calling forth ancient Eves to buy their compassionate widow’s tot
Of what, to Adam’s sweaty brow, this fallen earth bequeaths.

poem and photo copyright Bonnie McClellan 2011 all rights reserved

This poem is the third in a suite of poems written about 24 hours in Caulonia Superiore.

By bonniemcclellan

Mother, poet, american ex-pat from Texas living in Northern Italy.


  1. I’m slow on the uptake. I love the second segment’s sound, and I get an image of the truck full of music… then everything gets crowded. The truck has fruit and vegetables? Where did the compassionate widows come from? And their tots? Help, I’m lost!

    Love, Dad

    1. Yes, the “truck full of music” is a vegetable vendor, and “tot” as in a small amount (in English). It’s used in Italian to mean any fixed amount of stuff/people.
      The Eves are widowed (therefore living on fixed incomes) and so can buy just enough to keep the ‘truck patch vendor’ and his disco blaring vehicle in business along with the local Adam’s (the fellows who plow and sow small plots of land in the valley below the town).

      I have to give credit for both “stuck-in-stones” and “truck-full-of-music” to my daughter. She was two at the time and came up with these lovely circumlocutions to describe her experience with stone paved streets and vegetable sellers.


    Long is the way to midnight
    When you follow the swallow
    Or maybe is it a starling
    Who can say the nature of the bird
    That leads the path

    Vultures keep seated
    On top of the cypress
    Wind is blowing
    Though the sassafras
    Brainstorming at any time

    Red square white room
    Blood and cream like
    Bald and crime dice
    Play it again sam
    While we stay over the bombs

    1. Startling starling
      glossy black back
      die(ves) through
      towering sigh press
      (cemetery trees)
      line the path
      dusted with pollen-
      (yellow speckles)
      to the deer-less field
      where Cyparissus
      sap(ient), oh lymphic tears
      cling to his trunk
      bald-faced criminal
      bears away his arms.

      – good to see you GMC

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