Not Far From Italy


Pigeons congregate

among the stone saints and martyrs

feeling emptiness echo

throughout the ancient church. We stay


in our storied homes

cloistered with  beads and  candles. hearing the sea

wash ashore with a wide seam of foam, the scent of salt

and kelp sewn within.   Other birds


masked in black

pierce the sky with their operatic  pitch

singing the height of our panic.


And yet,  when the sun’s breath

spills on the terrace, its metal garden

faded to verdigris, we step out


breathing fresh air, pushing wind chimes

into the poignant joy

of being known, of blending hope

with memory —

cioa bella, cioa bella.


Today, the saddest news comes out of Italy with a death toll, from the Coronavirus, exceeding that of China.  We watch daily as the cases pile higher and the mortality rate increases over there as well as in our own nation/state.  Yet, a few days ago, it was reported that people in Italy came out on their  balconies and united through song, the rhythmic banging of pots and perhaps the ethereal ring of wind chimes.  It was the soul of music sustaining them, the bittersweet desperation of hope and memory blending to create a moment of  grace and beauty.  I have tried to capture a moment similar to that  in this poem. No, it is not exactly meant to be the residents of  Italy but that personal space of  us all who shelter in place yet need to still be heard, recognized and reach out with faith, prayer and compassion, to celebrate our ability to take in the day’s breath and sing of  its small glory.




5 replies on “Not Far From Italy”

Dear Michael and Craig

Thank you so much for your kind comments and interest in my poem. I deeply appreciate them.

Take care
my best



The second stanza just steals my breath away.

I celebrate the poetry, you always captivate,

and I am bewildered that such a pandemic could

really be happening in our high tech world.

Beautiful writing as always. You have been on

my mind. Be safe.



Thanks so much Sarah!!

When I heard how people were singing on their balconies in Italy, using music to uplift, unite and find hope, It was compelled to write this. Your lovely endorsement is so deeply appreciated!!

Many thanks and God Bless!
Take care,


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s