– Words after the diary of Leolyn Spelman, Johns Hopkins University Library.
San Gimignano. Found it enchanting.
The war has been hard on it:
lonely and poverty-stricken and unspoiled.
We take our work up to the fortress
and sit in the shade until we are cold,
then in to the sun until we are hot.
I always wanted to live hard,
and that I have done so my grey hairs will attest.
Praised be greed.
I could write a treatise on it this minute:
were it not for its ardors, we should lie down
and die of depression and inertia.
I could scourge myself forever
that I did not recognize the real
significance of so many things
as they were enacted before me—
Perhaps the mere fact of being
involved in the haste and fury,
the contradictions and cross-
purposes of the action, blinds us.
Originally published in The Evansville Review, volume 14 (Spring 2004)