Friday, December 30, 2011

mother and child on an Italian train (eyes glistening with anticipation)

could these words chisel a metaphor
from memory
to portray a Madonna and child
from a sight on the train to Lucca
can I pare away the white
scribing dried ink across a watermark

could the image ever find the light
the sliver of time to give substance to the dream
or will some miniscule fissure tear this vellum
forever ruining the piece, the poem
showering shards of shredded printer paper
to the drifting waste like marble dust
left over from Michelangelo’s fury

then, will the vision verify the dream again
or will memory fail to find that other mother
and her child on the train to Firenze
another Madonna and child
prego, she said motioning toward the window
delighted, the child sat proudly watching the station drift by
cosa vedi? she asked
what do you see?
un uomo che correva!
A man running!
the mother loving sharing teaching teasing
the child trusting smiling laughing
loving learning life from a touch a wink a challenge
the mother taking all of this time
these moments mattered
there was no melancholic backward glance
no anxious sigh or hint of boredom
no rear view mirror distraction
or a thousand other things to do, deadlines to meet

no vision of the Pieta fearing the day
when he will take the train alone
no thought of no longer nursing but knowing he must
someday suckle the time the future will give
the motion and hum of steel wheels
turning round toward the distance
the gentle rocking of the train car lulling the day, but not
diminishing the blaze of childhood, the warmth of motherhood
the speaker announcing, “Firenze, Santa Maria Novella!”

andiamo! let’s go
gli occhi lucidi con antizipazione

Barry DeCarli
November 4, 6, 9, & December 24, 2011
Ferrisburgh, VT
Copyright 2011 Barry DeCarli

Saturday, December 17, 2011

similar wars

similar wars

another war ending
more guilty feelings for not
being able to pick up a gun
or a fellow soldier’s  severed hand
or memory, a letter home
some part of speech lost
this war
had less protest than that one
where we would have put a daisy
in a gun barrel
and said “ make love, not war”
and surely the feelings are different now

my reluctance hardly balances
your willingness
my comfort weighs lightly
on your sacrifice
my desire for self-preservation
is too thin a veil to obscure the generosity
of you overcoming your fear
my inability to know what I might die for
can not diminish your steadfast belief
that you were doing the right thing
yet, at the end, I am here alive
while you are number 4,487
on another list of those lost to memory
who can say thank you, now
and have it mean anything
to your family, to anyone

conscripted, enlisted or dodged
does it matter whether this war
was any more necessary than that war
will it matter or not
if your death or my life was in vain

Barry DeCarli
Ferrisburgh, VT
December, 16-18, 2011
This poem was revised on Veteran's Day 2014
Copyright 2011 Barry DeCarli