Amelia Josephine Burr

(1878-1968 / United States)

Perugia Poem by Amelia Josephine Burr

For the sake of a weathered gray city set high on a hill
To the northward I go,
Where Umbria's valley lies mile upon emerald mile
Outspread like a chart.
The wind in her steep, narrow streets is eternally chill
From the neighboring snow,
But linger who will in the lure of a southerly smile,
Here is my heart.

Wrought to a mutual blueness are mountains and sky,
Intermingling they meet;
Little gray breathings of olive arise from the plain
Like sighs that are seen,
For man and his Maker harmonious toil, and the sigh
Of such labor is sweet,
And the fruits of their patience are vistas of vineyards and grain
In a glory of green.

No wind from the valley that passes the casement but flings
Invisible flowers.
The carol of birds is a gossamer tissue of gold
On tha background of bells.
Sweetest of all, in the silence the nightingale sings
Through the silver-pure hours,
Till the stars disappear like a dream that may never be told,
Which the dawning dispels.

Never so darkling the alley but opens at last
On unlimited space;
Each gate is the frame of a vision that stretches away
To the rims of the sky.
Never a scar that was left by the pitiless past
But has taken a grace,
Like the mark of a smile that was turned upon children at play
In a summer gone by.

Many the tyrants, my city, who held thee in thrall.
What remains of them now?
Names whispered back from the dark through a portal ajar,
They come not again.
By men thou wert made and wert marred, but, outlasting them all,
Is the soul that is thou -
A soul that shall speak to my soul till I, too, pass afar,
And perchance even then.

Submitted: Thursday, April 22, 2010
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