Blog


  • 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”
  • Leaves
    Oct. 19, 1944 The wind rattles at the window panes and the branches of the trees sway from side to side. The leaves are twirled in the wild merry-go-round of the wind until they sink to rest on the earth. A fresh gust brings more leaves and these mingle with the others in a whirlingContinue reading “Leaves”
  • Come and Gone
    Australia to Orvieto to Australia, via Libia and Sweden. There was once a ruin (once a farm house) on a hill overlooking the valley. The stones had long decided to go their own way and creatures of various kinds had taken up their abode in cracks and overhanging shelters. Neither four-footed animal nor Christian cameContinue reading “Come and Gone”
  • Me, Myself, and My Shadow
    Traces of a shadow, like the life in a room, remain where they have been cast on the sand, in the earth, on the paving. We have left a trace of ourselves as our shadow goes to join the multiple shadows of the past. Odysseus once cast a shadow here. And Priam and those whoContinue reading “Me, Myself, and My Shadow”
  • Sisters
    On the Advantages and Disadvantages of Having a Sister Sept. 19, 1944 I have a sister. She, in my opinion, is usually a spoiled brat. But that is only my opinion. Being the youngest of the family, she is naturally rather spoiled. How I wish that she were an angelic, helpful sister! But she isn’tContinue reading “Sisters”
  • In Remembrance of Nennella (d. 4 January 2022)
    My Lady of the Roses There is talk of roses And I think of you. There is talk of you and I think “roses”. The rose reflects your soul and you reflect your roses. Roses. Your roses. Pruned, nurtured, tended, loved. Perfect for that is your desire. Natural but perfect. Every rose in the rightContinue reading “In Remembrance of Nennella (d. 4 January 2022)”
  • Farm Reminiscences
    Reminiscences Recollections Once upon a time Time for nostalgia There was once a farm, once upon a time many years ago, that now existed only in her memories. It, too, had a story of its own, a life story of a home and of a hill. And of the young woman who lived there. WhenContinue reading “Farm Reminiscences”
  • Christmas Greetings
    So All Good Wishes For a Peaceful Christmas and Promises of a Better 2022, from all of us in Orvieto, whether just temporarily here for the Holidays or thinking of the future, from Costanza, Claudio and Lamberto and his five cats and, of course, from me and Teah, the dog. And so, with visions ofContinue reading “Christmas Greetings”
  • Christmas
    Now that I’m 92 and don’t have other responsibilities, I start wondering what Christmas meant to me when I was a child, what it meant to my children and to my grandchild. Questions arise as to what Christmas really was for my Jewish friends (it is only recently that I learned about Hanukkah), to othersContinue reading “Christmas”
  • Two O’Clock
    I lie in bed. Night has settled in. Taken over. Darkness flows into all corners, laps all objects in its embrace. I lie there. A web of words, whispering, wailing,  insinuates itself into my conscious, my unconscious as I wait for sleep. I look at my clock. Luminescent numbers say it is two. I wait.Continue reading “Two O’Clock”
  • Erika High School Essay, Age 15
    September 11, 1944 About Myself First, I would like to introduce you to my family and give you a picture of my home. There are only four of us, my gifted, exacting father, my sweet, ever-busy mother, my impish, nature-loving sister and myself. During the summer we all worked harder than ever for before the warContinue reading “Erika High School Essay, Age 15”
  • Foraging for Memories
    Once upon a time  little old ladies foraged for wild salad greens in the fallow fields along the road. Defined as weeds by many,  crowding out more urbane peers, these humble plants gave spice and flavor to what otherwise    would have been a more pedestrian dish. The little old ladies and their rough homespun apronsContinue reading “Foraging for Memories”
  • Revelations
    Four photos: Revelations 1. Hemlock grove. Sun filtering through the towering trees. Danae, child of the earth, stands there alone, arms raised in adoration, welcoming this unearthly shower of gold. 2. It is still dark as he makes his way to the top of a mountain, with the sea down below. The air is coldContinue reading “Revelations”
  • Chairs Poem
    A chair is made to be sat in. A chair presupposes a sitter. Straight-backed, enveloping, soft or hard, a chair has a personality all its own. That may or may not be that of its sitter. Chairs also sit and wait lined up against the wall or grouped around a table, anticipating a sitter. ScatteredContinue reading “Chairs Poem”
  • Chairs
    Chairs. Can you imagine your house without chairs? A seat, with a back, generally meant for one person. A chair must have been one of the first things our Stone Age ancestors invented. Or let us say found useful. Perhaps just a boulder. Or a tree stump. Just something they could sit on. To beginContinue reading “Chairs”
  • Edna St. Vincent Millay Poem
    A friend teaching retired professionals asked them to write their own versions of a well-known poem. I chose the poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay, a long-time favorite. Written over a hundred years ago, is it still valid? And mine, does it mirror what the world might be like  in another hundred years? Edna St.Continue reading “Edna St. Vincent Millay Poem”
  • Every Room
    Every room has a story to tell.  Four walls, a floor and a ceiling, delineate, define a cube of space, home to memories of lives lived and now forgotten. Forgotten you say? You overlook the fact that the walls, layer upon layer, retain what they have seen, what they have heard. Elusive ghostly shadows fleetinglyContinue reading “Every Room”
  • Nennella’s Teapots
    Teapots, like books, sit quietly on their shelves throughout the day. At least Nennella’s teapots do. Oh my, you remark when you enter the day room. There they are, next to the fireplace, next to the French window, next to the door that leads to the hall. Oh my. Porcelain, earthenware, brass, ceramic. An armyContinue reading “Nennella’s Teapots”
  • On Finding a Fragment
    On finding a fragment of an “Etruscan” vase. In digging up my garden, I unearth a fragment of what was once a vessel of some sort. As I wipe away the earth, an enormous eye in black gloss paint stares up at me. Thin-walled, subtly curving, one edge softly rounded, this inch-long shard is allContinue reading “On Finding a Fragment”
  • Vaphio Cup
    My Vaphio cup and memories The Vaphio cup with its scene of the domestication of wild bulls. The one I have is of course a reproduction of the over 3000-year old original in the museum in Athens and is not gold and I doubt that any metal cleaner would make it look as if itContinue reading “Vaphio Cup”
  • A Letter
    A letter. Hand-written on a piece of paper, folded and put into an envelope, consigned to the posts where it will be put into a bin or a canvas bag with others, destination overseas. A hand-written letter. Surely not from yesterday. Too old-fashioned. Too time consuming. Taking too long to arrive. Too everything. Still, IContinue reading “A Letter”
  • Contacts
    Contacts with real people, October 16, 2021 This morning on our first walk. As we turn into the street that leads towards home, I see two people sitting on a bench. Laughing and talking with each other. LIVE! How lovely. Not an iPhone in sight. Time passes and it’s now eleven and I’m back home.Continue reading “Contacts”
  • Rubaiyat
     “Shapes of all Sorts and Sizes, great and small, That stood along the floor and by the wall; And some loquacious Vessels were; and some Listen’d perhaps, but never talk’d at all.” Rubaiyat A tattered faded fragment of brown suede with Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam impressed in letters of gold. The vestige barely clings to theContinue reading “Rubaiyat”
  • Pots and Pans
    I’ve written on Canes and Clocks and Chairs. On porcelain teacups, on a wooden ale-bowl. On New Year’s Eve and a game we played. So now what can I write about? Something that is universal, something that includes yesterday, today and tomorrow. What better perhaps than pots and pans, humble yet irreplaceable. Faithful, but atContinue reading “Pots and Pans”
  • Finnish Crystal Glass
    Shattered. Shards of glass  lie scattered underfoot. All I had meant to do was dust it. Finnish, it was, you said. A small crystal goblet gifted by a special friend. It slipped from my hand and is now in fragments. Meant to contain a cordial or a shot of whisky, it was as Heidegger saidContinue reading “Finnish Crystal Glass”
  • Eels, Garlic, Wine, & Truffles                
    She opened the icebox door and jumped back as a two-foot long snake-like creature slithered out and onto the kitchen floor. No one had warned her that a fisherman from the lake of Bolsena had passed by to leave the usual Christmas homage to the architect, the head of the house.  After the initial shock,Continue reading “Eels, Garlic, Wine, & Truffles                “
  • Moving Sidewalk / Conveyor Belt
    We come into this world on an endlessly moving stream, a moving sidewalk if you like, carrying us to our final port of call. Apparently alone, a host of others, on their individual conveyor belts, follow along as we continue our relentless journey through the tunnel of life. In passing, scenes flash by on eitherContinue reading “Moving Sidewalk / Conveyor Belt”
  • Carolyn’s Rome
    Remembered September, 2021 Rome? For me Rome was Carolyn, it was Monteverde Vecchio.  It was going to the station in Orvieto, through streets that were still empty where blinds had been thrown open only here and there and the only sign of life might be a man in his undershirt stretching and yawning in theContinue reading “Carolyn’s Rome”
  • October
    In the year 1052 Ou-Yang in his study heard a pattering and rustling, that broke into a great churning and crashing, like the noise of waves, or of soldiers going to battle.  Sent out to see what it was, his boy returned declaring he had seen no men and that the noise must be inContinue reading “October”
  • Worth Keeping
    There are closets and cupboards, storerooms and glass cases, where one keeps one’s relics, the things that tie one to yesterday. They may sometimes have an intrinsic value of their own, sometimes, divorced from their surroundings, they may seem to be pieces of junk. One forgets they have a history, were created, were loved, dusted,Continue reading “Worth Keeping”
  • Anywhere, Elsewhere, Nowhere
    I could be anywhere, you said. Anywhere, or nowhere.  You can only walk back and forth along a corridor, a ambulation to be precise. I think of a church and its ambulatory. Where one perambulated in the chancel behind the high altar. Off bounds. Past a door to the world outside, off bounds, prisoner ofContinue reading “Anywhere, Elsewhere, Nowhere”
  • Or, If, Perhaps, If Only
    Monday, any Monday, summer or winter It was not yet eight. The worn wooden door, it really needed painting, opened to let a dog on a leash and a cane appear, followed by an elderly lady, a fedora covering her grey hair and the elastics of that mandatory mask. She took in the container forContinue reading “Or, If, Perhaps, If Only”
  • One Never Knows
    The past is never   “past”, suddenly without warning it may surface like a rubbing of indented writing, indelible traces of bygone days, although often specific recollections of who and what elude me. A young man accosts me in the piazza of a hill town where I had gone in search of pottery for my shop.Continue reading “One Never Knows”
  • Fabric Scraps
    I can hear them conversing, comparing, arguing. Oh, I’ve had quite a life. As befits nobility like me. A golden robe no less. You others all pale by comparison. Don’t be so sure of yourself. You may date to 1930, but were made for a rather self-centered man who thought himself above all others. IContinue reading “Fabric Scraps”
  • Remnant
    October 17, 2013 Leopard spotted flannel Hand printed potato die Left over remnant of my two-year old’s pjs. What happened to the leopard suit? What happened to the little boy? The suit has gone the way of things outgrown. The little boy given way to the man. 
  • Glass Doors
    Did the owner think of the apartment I’m in now as a sort of gatehouse, with concierge services? The entrance door is glass, although it’s clouded glass. The small window at one side offers a glimpse into the room I inhabit,  and I have hung a Chinese scarf there to preserve my privacy. Privacy? ForContinue reading “Glass Doors”
  • All over
    All she had was a photo of 60 years ago. A young soldier holding a gun, on the bank of a river. And then there were the letters. These were the man she had learned to love. His last letter was dated September 2001. He had wheeled himself into the TV room and with theContinue reading “All over”

%d bloggers like this: