• Blue Bar
    Around the corner from where I live, there’s a coffee/wine bar called the Blue Bar. Down in the valley, there’s also a Green Bar and somewhere there’s a Red Bar, aside from a couple of others with names like Obelix and Asterix. The one I frequent is Blue Bar, which is not very large. ThereContinue reading “Blue Bar”
  • Wheels and Words Part II
    Sometimes a phrase, a word, read or heard, remains with us throughout the day, or week, or more. This is certainly the case with Shakespeare or Robert Frost. My love affair with both goes back to the 7th or 8th grade. What impressed their words on my mind? The sound, or the idea? When orContinue reading “Wheels and Words Part II”
  • Words and Wheels Part I
    All depends on chance – or does it. We talk. We read. We are constantly playing with words. Sometimes our introduction to an author,  to a character, to a book, depends on chance. Although perhaps that is generally the case in most encounters, real-life or on the printed page. Sometimes though, what sparked my interestContinue reading “Words and Wheels Part I”
  • Unpurchasable Memories
    There’ll be a box somewhere in your house – in the movies it’s often under the bed or up on a high shelf in the closet – with treasured letters and cards, keepsakes (nice name). I have several packets of letters, but I’ve written about them before. They and the cards are part of peopleContinue reading “Unpurchasable Memories”
  • Person to Person
    Person-to-person is best, you say. I answer, sometimes, but not always. Perhaps it depends on what you are used to, best at ease with, grew up with. You can exchange ideas, like batting a ball back and forth in a ping-pong game. On the other hand if it’s a chess game, you need time toContinue reading “Person to Person”
  • Joy
    Laughter means contentment. It means happiness, perhaps fleetingly, but for those few moments when we laugh, we are happy. There are synonyms and antonyms to happiness. Joy, delight, elation. It’s opposite despair, tribulation, misery, unhappiness. All of which seem rather drastic. There must be some kind of middle ground.  Take joy. Use with joy itContinue reading “Joy”
  • Postscript
    It certainly is rare that one reads a book from cover to cover in one sitting. That’s where bookmarks come in. Perhaps only in the form of folding the corner of a page, dog-eared as they say, or by using a slender bookmark with reference to another book by the same author, or perhaps byContinue reading “Postscript”
  • Who Wrote These Notes?
    A friend lent me a book. Not in itself unusual. The book, an English translation of Pirandello, Il fu Mattia Pascal. The late Mattia Pascal, came from a used bookstore, so my friend was not the first to read it, although it is in pristine condition. I do have Pirandello in Italian and I hadContinue reading “Who Wrote These Notes?”
  • Whistles
    There’s a shelf in the corridor leading to my bedchamber  with small figures vying with each other to be heard. They are indeed vying to be heard, for they are whistles. Most of them in simple terractta, some painted in bright colors, childish in their delight.  Several have written underneath Caltagirone and the date, oneContinue reading “Whistles”
  • Names Again
    Names again, given or inherited. Although I’ve written about names before, it somehow seems a universal, non-stop, subject. What’s in a name. It’s curious how we relate to people with a specific name. Let’s see. I have quite a few Davids on my list. Three I’m actually on speaking terms with and several others areContinue reading “Names Again”
  • Saints For All Things
    In Italy there is of course a plethora of saints. Some one never heard of, some invented like Santa Perduta (Lost Saint), celebrated in Orvieto with music by local groups and picnics of roast pig and wine. One might even think of it as a pagan festival. Throughout the centuries the pagan gods were graduallyContinue reading “Saints For All Things”
  • Shrinking Universe
    My shrinking and my expanding worlds As we grow older, our world shrinks. Eventually, those few steps between chair and bed, that physical world that others see as “us”, will diminish day by day. Of the countless contacts we had before, most of them are now virtual. Space and time become meaningless. Yet, that endlessContinue reading “Shrinking Universe”
  • A Small Town: Part II On Seeing
    On seeing It’s a small town. In around 20 minutes, I have an appointment at the health clinic at the other end of town.  Although I would once have walked there, a bus is now more convenient. The bus stop is right by the local bank and I’m early. I’ve had my morning cappuccino so I’llContinue reading “A Small Town: Part II On Seeing”
  • A Small Town: Part I On Being Seen
    My town is definitely a small town. Which means I’m not invisible. I don’t have to be eccentric, or construct a specific persona for myself. Sometimes ,I wonder though if it’s my dog rather than me who is being noted. Once, in Florence, I was walking down a street near the cathedral and I feltContinue reading “A Small Town: Part I On Being Seen”
  • Ambiguity
    CASPAR DAVID FRIEDRICH Venice, the year 2000 An exhibition entitled COSMOS  L’arte alla scoperta dell’ìnfinito The students we are accompanying have gone on to discover Venice on their own. As we wander on, just my friend and me, we discover an exhibition in Palazzo Grassi that looks interesting. What I remember most today, 23 yearsContinue reading “Ambiguity”
  • Lost and Found
    Years ago, I lost a purple glove at the supermarket. I had removed it to pull out my shopping list and when I got to the checkout, well, there was only one glove keeping my potatoes and yogurts company. Despite backtracking and asking, no one had seen a single glove of any kind looking forContinue reading “Lost and Found”
  • February 14/15
    February 1929 Newark, New Jersey, USA. A car, could be a Ford, goes speeding through the empty streets at midnight. I think I ran over a cat, says the red-haired driver as the silence is broken by a wail … Except it wasn’t a cat, it was a girl-child complaining as she was thrust intoContinue reading “February 14/15”
  • Once Upon a Time
    Thoughts on a cold snowy day Winter sets in and nature and, perhaps,  my senses also go into hibernation. It is the moment of “once upon a time,” hoping that that time will soon return when the first crocuses brave the cold and the hazel bushes are draped in their catskins. Once upon a time,Continue reading “Once Upon a Time”
  • Aftermath of the Holidays Part II
    There are other futures involved in my Christmas presents. A pair of sheepskin boots that I cannot yet pull on by myself. There is a very warm vest with, thank heaven, capacious pockets for my phone, house keys, doggie bag, hankies, eye glasses, bus tickets. The backpack makes it possible for me to do myContinue reading “Aftermath of the Holidays Part II”
  • Aftermath of the Holidays Part I
    A gift implies a future. Christmas had passed and the manger scene put away. I discover an unopened box next to my computer. With my name written on it. It is from the shop that sells notebooks with hand-made paper bindings and special pens. Inside, when I finally get around to opening it, is aContinue reading “Aftermath of the Holidays Part I”
  • Who Owns Whom Part II
    As I move uphill, I can’t help but notice the bookshop window with the rows of books looking out at me. I can see the owner, Gianluca, in the back.  I poke my head in and ask him how come he called his shop Arcimboldo. “Well, there’s that famous 16th century painter who created portraitsContinue reading “Who Owns Whom Part II”
  • Who Owns Whom Part I
    Dear David Here we go again with books, that seemingly endless subject we always turn to in our afternoon tête-à-tête. As we were saying, David, now that you have had to give up your collections of books, parts of you are in the libraries of people you never met, in places you have never been.Continue reading “Who Owns Whom Part I”
  • Pop-up Card Caper
    MYSTERY The great pop-up card caper There were two blue envelopes in my mailbox. Yes, I still have a mailbox. And yes, I still occasionally get letters, although most often it is the printout of a bill the bank has already paid for me. To get back to the blue envelopes. I knew without lookingContinue reading “Pop-up Card Caper”
  • Yellow
    Shades of yellow Hues of yellow Lemon amber chrome gold Burnt umber, bronze A yellow butterfly Escaping from the ghetto A patch of yellow wall in Vermeers View of  Delft Proust Van Gogh Rembrandt The Jewish Bride Slashes of yellow satin sleeves The little prince Daffodils and sunflowers A host of golden daffodils Your hairContinue reading “Yellow”
  • Giving and Receiving
    December 2022. Time to think of presents if you haven’t already done so. Once upon a time you began to think of what to give a month before or even earlier. I remember I kept a lookout for something to put aside at giving time, even if it was in the middle of August, andContinue reading “Giving and Receiving”
  • The Consequences of Falling
    A nano second. That’s all it is. And one finds oneself face down, trying to recover an awareness of oneself. That’s what happens when one falls – the fall itself – that moment when the body moves from upright to horizontal, that moment perhaps before one’s head hits the ground, somehow no longer exists. ThenContinue reading “The Consequences of Falling”
  • Words 2
    Orvieto valley One would think that the valley seen from Ripa Medici in Orvieto would lend itself to a written description. Yet analysis in words seems to elude me. Perhaps because I always have a dog in tow. Walking along the streets at midday, it is September and the summer heat has abated, the differenceContinue reading “Words 2”
  • Bagnara Calabra
    And then there is the word. Again the photo gives us what we can consider reality. It can be impersonal, in the sense that anyone could have taken that picture. Yet like a drawing, it is the result of a choice. The framing, the time of day. What strikes the observer. A description in wordsContinue reading “Bagnara Calabra”
  • Manual Approach
    BUT BEFORE THAT MECHANICAL APPROACH, IT WAS ALL MANUAL SO how about a drawing or a sketch? Once upon a time that was how the  present was recorded, so as not to forget. There’s an advantage here for you can  choose, illuminate, accent this or that. You decide what is most important. You can focusContinue reading “Manual Approach”
  • Impressions: The Photograph
    A photo gives you the impression of a moment. A photo gives you everything in your field of vision, the background, the surroundings, make themselves heard as loudly as what you are focusing on. With your iPhones you are documenting your presence in a certain place at a certain time. The very fact that youContinue reading “Impressions: The Photograph”
  • The Camera
    Europe. 1955. A  world that to me was new. It assailed my senses. I responded. In sketches, in photographs, in words. Now, in 2022, they are all still there immortalized on my computer. 1949 was a box camera. Amazing what it could do! 1956 was a 35 mm. Leica. With a light meter and rangefinder.Continue reading “The Camera”
  • Little Time Machines
    (Thanks to James Lalonde) Whirlwinds of memory. A box of photographs. I thumb through them, paralyzed by the present, haunted by the past, fearful of the future. The world around me gyrates, Spins out of control. Wars. Wild fires. Winds of winter. Heading into chaos. But here, in this box, there is a past noContinue reading “Little Time Machines”
  • Black and White #2
    Returning from the little park next to the former hospital with its view of the valley and the abbey, I often stop and sit on the bench that runs along the palazzo across from the cathedral. It’s not a simple bench, but seems to serve as base for the building, interrupted by a few doorways,Continue reading “Black and White #2”
  • Black and White
    Blocks of stone. Paltry remnants left behind when our brothers had been chosen and become part of a greater whole. We are only what remains, quietly waiting for the flood of tourists   to ebb and wane. Cresting at eleven, by five withdrawing, the people gradually trickle  into the quiet square, mill around, spill over intoContinue reading “Black and White”
  • The Zucchino
    My son gave me a giant zucchino (Italian, singular for zucchini) from his vegetable garden. (in Italian there’s one word for vegetable garden orto and another for the more formal kinds of flower garden or  park –  giardino.) So I have this giant green zucchino staring at me telling me to hurry up and use it while itContinue reading “The Zucchino”
  • Taking a Break
    Dear friends After almost three years and almost a thousand posts, I need a break. So until inspiration again graces me, you won’t find me online. Hopefully I’ll be back soon, with new thoughts that occur to me when I’m trying to sleep, switch on the light and jot them down before they vanish intoContinue reading “Taking a Break”
  • Somewhere Out There
    I saw it once. I’ve been searching for it ever since. What? A film. Haunting images of a room seen across the way, glowing with light as a mother brings in a steaming bowl of soup for her husband and children. We are seeing it from a dark room – across the way.  We areContinue reading “Somewhere Out There”
  • True Riches
    La vera ricchezza sono le persone. True riches are not things but people. This morning a slight youngish man with a red van, where the tools of his trade were neatly lined up, each one in its specific space, knocked on my door. It was my electrician who had come to check up on aContinue reading “True Riches”
  • Wordless Communication
    How does one share a feeling? I suppose you could ask your dog.  When she (or he) gets all excited and joyous about seeing you, knowing you will take her (or him) for a walk, isn’t that a way of telling you what they feel? Might also be familiarity. As the days and years pass,Continue reading “Wordless Communication”
  • Surfeit
    Just one is quite enough. A friend sent me 50 pictures of the wonders of nature. Flowers, birds, creatures of the sea, trees. I scroll through them all, marveling. Yet I feel overwhelmed by too much. Just one would have been quite enough. Just one I could have lingered over, impressed it in my mind.Continue reading “Surfeit”
  • Belly Buttons
    Or Rather Silly Daily Thoughts Another summer weekend. School is far from thoughts. Too hot for clothes, more or less. Midnight. Gaggles of giggling Lolitas wander the main drag. Dressed or undressed depending on your definition. Long bare adolescent legs. Frayed shorts barely covering buttocks go up in front to just below the belly button.Continue reading “Belly Buttons”
  • The Importance of Having a Name
    Seems everyone knows me by name. Maybe because I’ve been around so long. I used to have a shop and if someone whose child was having problems with English, or the Carabinieri or the hospital when whoever they were dealing with didn’t speak Italian, would turn to Erika. At this point, the Carabinieri and theContinue reading “The Importance of Having a Name”
  • Music and Memory
    As I get older my lifestyle changes.                                                 What I once took for granted, gradually vanishes from sight, or should I say from hearing. Memory. All that remains to us as we get older is memory. We can no longer hear the music that marked our lives, except in memory. We can no longer enjoy theContinue reading “Music and Memory”
  • Coffee
    It’s a hot hot summer day. You find that even thinking takes it out of you. And then you see a stand selling granita di caffe. Coffee, frozen and crushed to a mush and with a cap of whipped cream on top. Does that count as coffee? I suppose it does for it brings youContinue reading “Coffee”
  • Colleen/Guardian Angel
    Aren’t we all supposed to have guardian angels? They may not be all that interested in their charges, and sometimes seem to disregard them completely. There’s one in particular who seems to have forgotten what he was supposed to be doing.   In any case my friend Colleen Garvey caught him sleeping. She said he was theContinue reading “Colleen/Guardian Angel”
  • Friends
    A warm summer night. A man and a woman are animatedly conversing as they drive up into the hills. Fireflies are flashing against the velvety black woods. She’s not quite sure how the conversation took this turn, but she finds herself on the defensive. A friend, she says, always remains a friend even when theirContinue reading “Friends”
  • Solitude
    A gift of old age. Or a curse. To learn to take in hand, and not to be subjected to. To be ardently sought for. Solitude, allowing us to think, move perhaps back into the past which is the basis of all we do,  the past of things best forgotten, or the foundation of theContinue reading “Solitude”
  • Conversation and Mario
    An Italian friendship and conversations, and eventually letters: How does one begin to write about a person, about a friendship with its strange ties and bonds, and even stronger boundaries? Mario and I were simply two people who found pleasure in each other’s company. We demanded very little, yet the time we gave each otherContinue reading “Conversation and Mario”
  • Sky Blue Pink
    When asked, she would sayher favorite color wassky-blue pink.Like the baseboards and window framesin her room.On the white-papered wallsfairies and elves were drawn in colored chalkscavorting among mushrooms and bluebellsunder the vigilant eye of Raggedy Ann and Andy,as she admonished her little sister not to touchuntil she had sprayed them with fixativ.There were white dustContinue reading “Sky Blue Pink”
  • Waiting Again
    Inspired by John Looker. Thank you, John. “With the voices of those who were dead speaking even now in her ears she was lost in a world beyond place or time …” from “How the Dead Spoke to Odyssea,” in Shimmering Horizons by John Looker, Bennison Books, 2021. Waiting again. As always. DANGER. NO ACCESS. The signContinue reading “Waiting Again”
  • The Archaeologist and Food
    Food, forever food One of my sons is an archaeologist. His younger brother started out as a naturalist. Both ended up involved with wild boars. My older archaeologist son is also into cooking. Particularly the “archaeological” aspect. Years ago he tried making beer the original Egyptian way, sprouting and roasting hops (using a friend’s potteryContinue reading “The Archaeologist and Food”
  • Learning Italian
    If one wants to become acquainted with a culture, one really should become involved with the language. And of course, vice versa. There are different ways to do it and I suppose I did all of them. Studying grammar and dictionaries, reading whatever came to hand, speaking with everyone whether a stranger or not, friendships,Continue reading “Learning Italian”
  • Claudio and The Little Owl
    Ten o’clock and all is dark. Returning from a festa at Lugnano in Teverina where there has been a skype connection with Arizona concerning the dig of a Roman villa. The people in the square are still busy eating, perhaps have begun dancing. The medieval church with its portico that once sheltered pilgrims now resoundsContinue reading “Claudio and The Little Owl”
  • Trees
    John Muir loved trees and so do I.  Remember reading how he would climb up to the top of a sequoia and sway back and forth with the tree in the wind. He never saw a discontented tree, he said. They grip the ground as though they liked it, and though fast-rooted they travel aboutContinue reading “Trees”
  • The Box
    On Finding a Box (1994?) A dusty brown corrugated cardboard box, stained and faded, the kind your groceries come in. Put on the shelf outside, in the shed behind the house, a miracle it didn’t get rained on – when the boys cleaned out their grandpa’s desk after he died two years ago. Now theContinue reading “The Box”
  • Clutter
    Clutter can often be confused with hoarding. It can be limited to finding a box of objects your father had somehow stowed away. It can be hanging on to your child’s first drawing or confirmation certificate. It can mean keeping photographs. All things one could do without, and which can therefore be labeled clutter. ButContinue reading “Clutter”
  • Dialogues
    There’s an elegantly dressed woman who has a wine shop around the corner from me. Most people simply know her as Svetlana. I have no idea what her last name is and probably wouldn’t know how to pronounce it, for she is originally Serbian. According to Google Svetlana is a common Orthodox Slavic feminine name,Continue reading “Dialogues”
  • Things Haven’t Changed Much
    In 1955 if you were in Italy and wanted to make an international phone call, you had to go to the post office and get on a waiting list. The mails did seem to work a bit better though. A postcard sent to me at my NY address was forwarded to me at American ExpressContinue reading “Things Haven’t Changed Much”
  • Digits
    A poem noted in my journal for 2013. I think it’s mine, particularly since there’s a reference to “Twas the night before Christmas”, but it if isn’t I thank whoever wrote it. (From 2013) One two three Trinity. God Christ the Holy Spirit Spirits Gin and vodka Grappa Grapes hanging on the vine. Five sixContinue reading “Digits”
  • New York Days — Snippets
    Snippet I A day in NYC, when I was young, perhaps 1950 The day was bright and sunny. At least I think it was. It certainly wasn’t raining. Briskly I set off across town with a little trepidation at my boldness doing its best to keep up with me. My destination was somewhere around 28thContinue reading “New York Days — Snippets”
  • Reflections on a Train
    Once upon a time we traveled by train. In compartments seating maybe eight people, four facing another four. Sometimes there would be conversation, even intimate confessions, as if the speaker were talking to her therapist, convinced none of the other would ever see each other again. It was persons interacting with persons. Going even furtherContinue reading “Reflections on a Train”
  • Portraits
    Sometimes a photograph, a chance remark, will spark a post for my weekly blog. Particularly when I think I am running out of subjects to write about. I can also draw from a store of things written over the years, but that may not be fair. Sometimes it may be a chance remark, or somethingContinue reading “Portraits”
  • Requiem for Gandalf
    Nov. 26, 1993 They telephoned to say he was no more. The laughter at the supper table died – no one said a word and then the sounds came haltingly. Last night – Gandalf was his name. The Grey Eminence. Gandalf the Grey Wizard (thanks to Tolkien). Each of us had different thoughts. Yours, myContinue reading “Requiem for Gandalf”
  • Pirandello
    The year 2022.  A young woman writes to her great grand aunt that she is opening a book she has been wanting to read for a while. “One, No One, and a Hundred-thousand” by Luigi Pirandello. Unexpected memories of almost 70 years earlier rose to the surface of when, as a graduate of Columbia University, theContinue reading “Pirandello”
  • Reflections on Water or a Window
    Reflections can be dangerous whether in the mind, a shiny surface, a pool of water, or on a pane of glass. Take the cardinal or the swallow deceived into thinking the reflection in a window was a rival leading to an untimely death. A reflection on a shiny surface can blind us to tangible reality.Continue reading “Reflections on Water or a Window”
  • Every Day at…
    One day is like another … or is it? Every day at 8 o’clock in the morning A woman in a black coat, her hat pulled low over her ears, is walking a black and white dog. A young man is sitting outside a small church, smoking a cigarette. He smiles as the dog goesContinue reading “Every Day at…”
  • Reflections in a Pool of Water
    Reflections in a pool of water bring heaven down to earth, Fragments of blue sky hover over cobblestones. Dark walls of a building sink down upside down, annihilating tangible reality. A patchwork quilt of paving stones reflects the luminescent light of day, frames that topsy turvy world  where what is real merges with illusion.
  • Oliver Sacks and My Mother
    I’m sure that some of you are acquainted with the following quote from Oliver Sacks, neurologist and man of science, best known perhaps for his book The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat but also for Awakenings, which became a film starring Robert DeNiro and Robin Williams. His words are in a sense a farewell, encouraging usContinue reading “Oliver Sacks and My Mother”
  • Reflections and Reality
    A curving staircase banister sweeps down a silhouette against a daylit window. Curves, straight lines, two dimensions as in a drawing. On either side a reflection moving back into space adds a third dimension. But also moving back in time it adds a fourth dimension. Yesterday, today. A reflection that reveals small shelves with bottlesContinue reading “Reflections and Reality”
  • Chagall
    May 7, 2022  Years ago, I translated poems and aphorisms to accompany the woodcuts of Mariaelisa Leboroni. Now, hunting for a gift for a friend, I come across one with what I can only call a poem by Marc Chagall and am struck by how relevant it is to what is happening today in the UkraineContinue reading “Chagall”
  • Reflections and Reflecting
    Magic. Reflections in a pool of water. A fragment of another world. Leaves floating on the surface. A fragment of the sky. Mystery. Reflections.
  • The Pink Earring
    The smallest thing can contain the germ of a story. April 18, 2022  It was one of those days when spring seemed just around the corner, no longer playing hide and seek. Returning from a walk, with my dog of course, I reached up to put the key in the lock and noticed something glitteringContinue reading “The Pink Earring”
  • I Remember When
    When you had a run in your nylon stockings and you took them to a lady who repaired them by picking up the thread and reweaving it. When you had your threadbare winter coat taken apart, turned inside out, buttonholes closed up, and voilà you had a new coat. When mornings the milkman came byContinue reading “I Remember When”
  • Artichokes
    In praise of artichokes Not everyone has seen a real live artichoke. More likely you’ve seen the “bud”, because that’s what you’re eating when artichokes are served to you in one way or another.  A real live artichoke looks as if it were wearing armor to keep invaders away. Well, isn’t that just what itContinue reading “Artichokes”
  • Why Are We Here?
    Why are we here? What are we here for? This was the question asked by his grandson of a grandfather who had recently lost his wife of 60 years.  How can one answer a question like that? All he could say was that we are here to help one another. Which, on further thought, led himContinue reading “Why Are We Here?”
  • Thoughts on Translation
    To begin with let’s take Umberto Eco’s definition of translation as negotiation. “Negotiation is a process by virtue of which, in order to get something, each party renounces something else, and at the end everybody feels satisfied since one cannot have everything.” Much translation is just a job. In which case, the translator will beContinue reading “Thoughts on Translation”
  • Marino Moretti
    An internationally recognized potter, a ceramic artist, whose background is Orvieto and its tradition of medieval pottery and whose family roots are in this town, where he has a workshop in a castle outside the city, lovingly restored by his father and by himself. A family friend, for me and for my sons. He has workedContinue reading “Marino Moretti”
  • The Shoes in My Life
    Shoes. Of all the things we wear, we need, one of the most difficult to come to terms with are shoes. When we’re young most types seem to fit. Sandals, high heels, walking shoes. On the whole they are necessary, practical, additions to our wardrobe. It is only when our feet get blisters or sprainsContinue reading “The Shoes in My Life”
  • Sunflower
    The Sunflower: a symbol of survival and hope for peace Survivor 1992 Witness to the holocaust a lone survivor rises up above a burnt-out field of stubble where yesteryear a host of suns worshipped their life-giving source. Last seed of a generation cut down in its prime. A timid witness to the glory that aspired toContinue reading “Sunflower”
  • Glimpses
    March 21, 2022   I walk the streets at night. The dog pulls me along. Up Via del Duomo with empty tables being taken in, one or two guests still sitting inside with their glass of wine. Otherwise alone.  But then I think I hear steps, someone arriving from behind me. A shadow overtakes me, continuesContinue reading “Glimpses”
  • Spring
    CONVERSATION OF POEMS John Looker Herald of Spring  No, not the cuckoo although, yes, we fancied we heard one just now, over the field. Snowdrops maybe? Plucky little plants, they unfold their immaculate gowns with a “hey look at us!” Everywhere we see the colours of winter: flint church, moss on the gravestones, the yews,Continue reading “Spring”
  • Michelangeli Part II
    Gualverio Michelangeli lives on. Charlotte, now in her thirties, has a child of her own. And her mother has updated me on the story of the frogs. After so many Orvieto frogs came to live in Baltimore (with 2 very wise owls watching over them), Charlotte, still a child, made up many stories about theirContinue reading “Michelangeli Part II”
  • Tulips
    Flaring green glass vase of tulips yellowed leaves turn celadon against the light the renaissance perfection of color saturated petals progresses to mannerist decay ghostly greens and purples watercolor washes sharp penciled lines outlining curling edges finely etched dark pistils silhouettes slender stems in perfect curves or cypress straight translucent faded petals flutter down abortedContinue reading “Tulips”
  • House and Home
    Home. How many words are there for home? It’s the concept that counts, not the actual physical structure. Home – one can’t help but think of home now that so many are having to leave their homes, their houses, their villages, the places where many “souls” are gathered in the Old English definition. One’s heartContinue reading “House and Home”
  • Carnival
    Carnival was long since past July 2004 and March 2022 Carnival was over. Spring – and Easter – were not yet here. You were too young to wander the streets by yourself, showering paper confetti on passersby. So two bags had come to rest here in the country, in the basket by the door. LetContinue reading “Carnival”
  • Michelangeli Closing
    There was once a man and there was once a shop and a street that bore his name. When you talked about Michelangeli, you were talking about Orvieto. And when you mentioned Orvieto, many thought of Michelangeli, generally Gualverio, perhaps the last in a family of artisans. Centuries ago, the emperor Diocletian had decreed thatContinue reading “Michelangeli Closing”
  • Helen of Troy
    FEB 27TH A vision of a moment in time. Of what might have been. John Looker’s poems capture a moment of the past, give us a glimpse, a vision. Enchanted by this approach, I thought I would translate one of his poems into Italian. I didn’t get very far though because it set me wonderingContinue reading “Helen of Troy”
  • First Translation
    Must have been 1956 or 1957. I was working at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and since I had spent a year in Italy it was somehow taken for granted that I was proficient in Italian. When a request came for someone to translate the Italian entries for the International Literary BrailleContinue reading “First Translation”
  • Peace and War
    1994 Fireworks last night star bursts flashes in the dark fleeting echoing reports that leave no room for silence. Sarajevo – a shudder – there new year is firing to kill a thing we know but cannot know. 2001 At midnight, 2001 began its course. Short-lived bursts of sparks vied with the stars. Illusion. InsideContinue reading “Peace and War”
  • Use with Joy
    Well maybe Use with joy. A brightly colored sticker on, of all things, a waste paper or trash container. In today’s world of too much of everything, we have containers for plastic, for glass, for organic, for paper, for just plain trash. It’s one way of trying to save the environment and is amazing howContinue reading “Use with Joy”
  • Calycanthus
    Bare branches. Bare barren branches one would think. Winter clouds hang low build up release their burdens unwanted on the earth. Gray dropsical clouds. Bare winter branches. No hint of spring. Then, suddenly, near the garden gate a cloud of fragrance Looking up, the branches are no longer bare. Calycanthos. Winter flowering. Sweeter than theContinue reading “Calycanthus”
  • Montale, and unexpectedly James Joyce
    When one is what a friend of mine calls a wordsmith, one begins to question interpretations of a word, whether one’s own or that of others. I don’t consider myself an author, and have never written a novel, but having grown up in one, or even two, languages, and having lived most of my adultContinue reading “Montale, and unexpectedly James Joyce”
  • “Orvieto” from “Magica Etruria”
    ORVIETO (excerpt from Magica Etruria, Orvieto and Perugia, Nuova Immagine Editrice, Siena, 2014, reprint of Magica Etruria, Bizzarri and Curri, 1968)  (After visiting the necropolis of Crocifisso del Tufo, Mario Bizzarri approaches the question of what the Etruscans of Orvieto were physically like. But first, he says, pay a visit to the museums in theContinue reading ““Orvieto” from “Magica Etruria””
  • Montale: First Encounter
    February 9, 2022   The other day you asked me if I was acquainted with the poetry of Eugenio Montale. Yes, I answered. And my thoughts backtracked to many years ago. To a young woman on her first trip abroad who was discovering Italy.  Way back when. Surely the book was still on her bookshelf, oneContinue reading “Montale: First Encounter”
  • Observing Teah
    Late night walk with Teah It’s quiet out. The ticking of my shoes.                                                                                                           The soft tapping of my cane. Certainly not Long John Silver’s cane, or was it his wooden leg? Occasional voices, but always around the corner, no one in sight. It may be someone talking to themselves – or more likely on theirContinue reading “Observing Teah”
  • Observing Brutus
    By Erika’s granddaughter Costanza, age 10, 2008 She sits in the sun and licks one paw, stopping only to listen to the birds and the squeak of the pencil.  She looks at Panza, the other cat, incredulous and sort of like a “boss”, who makes believe he is sure of himself and fierce. Now sheContinue reading “Observing Brutus”
  • To a Dear Friend
    A friendship that, in 1993, began thirty-five years earlier and which was to continue, in 1993, for almost another thirty years. June 27, 1993 Dear friend – words we use the way we say good morning, or how are you. But words that with you take on their truest meaning. How many are the friendsContinue reading “To a Dear Friend”
  • Missing
    The valley that I see each day, as I walk along the edge of the cliff, is as it always is. Fields, olive groves, hedgerows of hawthorne waiting for the spring to burst into billows of white, rows of dark cypresses pointing to the sky, a house here and there along a winding country road.Continue reading “Missing”
  • Waiting
    July 4, 1993 Up in the corner – window, doorway, wall – sits the spider, waiting, in his web. Outside, on the bench, I sit, waiting, for someone, friend or stranger, to come along. A plop on the cobbles, it’s not what I thought – no birds, but just a branch above, and then suddenlyContinue reading “Waiting”
  • Mario’s Essay on Perugia
    FOR MARIO BIZZARRI, archeologist in love with his profession and with Perugia and Orvieto, where he grew up and then spent his life becoming acquainted with his Etruscan forebears. He was born on March 30, 1914, and died January 30, 1969, in Orvieto.   HYPOGEUM DEI VOLUMNI (PERUGIA) and ORVIETO (Excerpts from Magica Etruria, Orvieto and Perugia, NuovaContinue reading “Mario’s Essay on Perugia”

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