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Friday, June 19, 2009


It's been a month since we boarded the first of 2 planes for Italy, yet I am still so full of all we saw and did there--though unfortunately no longer full of what we ate and drank--that I find this hard to believe. I still have my Italian pocket phrasebook and my compact Italian dictionary right here next to my keyboard. I've insisted on making espresso every morning. Maybe just a bit pathetic. Well, especially my espresso!

The images and impressions that remain so vivid are some consolation. The fact that we got to go at all keeps me from complaining. Too much. And for those of you who know others like me who are off on splendid adventures while your summer plans revolve around the "simple precincts of home," I thought I'd post this poem by Billy Collins. The fact that the poem ends on the word "Bologna" only endears it to me more.

ciao! ~ sally

by Billy Collins

How agreeable it is not to be touring Italy this summer,
wandering her cities and ascending her torrid hill towns.
How much better to cruise these local, familiar streets,
fully grasping the meaning of every road sign and billboard
and all the sudden hand gestures of my compatriots.

There are no abbeys here, no crumbling frescoes or famous
domes and there is no need to memorize a succession
of kings or tour the dripping corners of a dungeon.
No need to stand around a sarcophagus, see Napoleon's
little bed on Elba, or view the bones of a saint under glass.

How much better to command the simple precinct of home
than be dwarfed by pillar, arch, and basilica.
Why hide my head in phrase books and wrinkled maps?
Why feed scenery into a hungry, one-eyed camera
eager to eat the world one monument at a time?

Instead of slouching in a cafe ignorant of the word for ice,
I will head down to the coffee shop and the waitress
known as Dot. I will slide into the flow of the morning
paper, all language barriers down,
rivers of idiom running freely, eggs over easy on the way.

And after breakfast, I will not have to find someone
willing to photograph me with my arm around the owner.
I will not puzzle over the bill or record in a journal
what I had to eat and how the sun came in the window.
It is enough to climb back into the car

as if it were the great car of English itself
and sounding my loud vernacular horn, speed off
down a road that will never lead to Rome, not even Bologna.

1 comment:

  1. well expressed and can be taken on several levels....especially since I am daily in the great car of English in the simple precinct of home....