Passing - Poem by Richard Blanch
The bus stops. Air conditioned tourists like
Me change position. Traffic block. Sit back.
Later a taste of Frascati. If we
Get there. In Frascati. Authentic. Quick
Off quick on. And the landscape will be un
Rolling blithely past the plate glass.
But for now we sit. There beyond the pane
A conifer sways and a tamarisk
Hedge pokes its twiggy fingers in my brain.
Behind these and the cracked wall by the road
Lies a garden I can’t see and a house
I can, its roof a sharp terracotta
Rise of orange, pink, crimson- comfortable,
Mouldy, graced and greyed and yellowed, flaking
Rounded earth-waves, weathered, sunned and crusty.
Yellow-washed walls, smudged, shutters that were green
Once. A lazy cat idly spares us an
Eye from where the casement makes a space for
Stillness close under those wide yawning eaves.
Here engines throb. Out there, air, a past, a
Now, a quietness, an energy, a difference.
I want to leave a twig and leaf of me
There when the cars move and the bus goes on.
I want to see its dry and dusty secret
Greenness, its unseen paths, water falling
On stone, on hot stone; leaf spikes pricking the
Blue sky, pine shades: a crumbling roundness,
Fulness- where the yellow peels from the wall
Is a memory made manifest. Why
Do the waves of terracotta pluck a
Wire, a taut harp string all the way up my spine?
I stroke the cat, find coolness inside the walls’
Pale crocus. Then with a jerk the bus moves on.
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