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Italy: My Soul Home

I have lived for about thirty years in Italy.  The very first visit to that country was to Genoa in December 1963.  All I can say is that when I deplaned and my feet touched the tarmac, my soul came home.

I eventually came to live in Italy in 1969.  My first home was in a place called Santa Margherita di Pula located in the southern region of the island of Sardinia.  This island captured my heart.  The sea is turquoise, the beaches are pristine, the rocks are unbelievable, the people are delightful, and the food is incredibly good. 

The last four and a half years of my time in Sardinia were spent on the island of La Maddalena.  If Sardinia was said to be the crown of Italy, La Maddalena would be the diamond sparkling in that crown. In my post Poetry- Sharing My Love of Sardinia I already described this beautiful island and shared one poem that I wrote in nostalgia after I left.  Here is another poem that I wrote during the course of a revisit.

La Maddalena

Hot air hanging languidly in a shimmering haze.
Warm brown bodies proffered to the sun,
Splayed on molten sand.
Still waters reflecting glistening gems
Of cool coral edged with mother-of-pearl
Mirrored under translucent turquoise.
Oh island of my heart, my soul, my mind,
Resplendent as a queen you proudly lie
Royally robed in colors warm and bright.
Your elegant form bedecked with dazzling jewels
Enchanting all who dare to gaze upon you,
By nature so generously endowed.
                                Sept. 1980

In sharp contrast is the city of Naples.  I returned to live in Italy after spending five years back in the UK, and by God-incidence I ended up in Naples.  Naples is a wild and chaotic city that lives by its own rules, as do the Neapolitans!  It is a city of wide contradictions and immense fascination.  There is a saying that goes, “See Naples and die”, meaning that nothing counts after experiencing Naples. 

In my previous post Poetry- The Urchin From Naples, I gave some personal insights into this crazy and wonderful city as well as sharing a poem that I wrote before I ever physically visited there.  The following poem describes how I felt about it after being there just one week.  Naples had “grabbed me by the throat” (this is what the locals say about the effect their city has on some people!l).


Faded ochre, dirty rose,
Clothed in webs of ivy green
Spattered with dust.
Crooked cracks, crusted crannies
Creeping in all directions
On ancient walls.
Cars, trams,
Buses,  coaches,
Trucks, prams,
Vans, Bikes,
Carts, Horses
In bright profusion.
Bells, shouts,
Whistles, screams,
Laughter, clouts,
Sirens, blasts,
Voices, horns,
In loud confusion.
City of love and painted passion,
Full of life and sight and sound,
City of song and laughter.
The dust may cling and spread around,
Crimes may take place each day, all day,
But you are throbbing, alive, and gay.
You are a heartbeat unto yourself.
And as you spawn your hopes, your fears
Into your maddening noises streets
You live!!
                              July 1982

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