I’ve been writing a daily poem for more than six years. Many mornings, I find myself writing poems about my difficulty with writing poems and saying something new, one of my many obsessions. My poems are often an intersection of my history and today’s events. I hope to arrive at an unexpected insight.
In Canicatti the soil was rocky, poor as the people digging in,
no choice but to make a home rooted to one spot, schooled
only by their parents, without books or paper. No teachers
to curve fingers around a pencil. No one learned to read,
but they knew of schools, saved lira for a steamship to America.
Their children or grandchildren might learn more
than digging and planting, might find a way to live
without bending all day and wearing out young. They might labor
with their minds, wear pressed clothes, shoes without holes,
have their teeth fixed instead of pulled, be envied and respected
by neighbors. One paisan moved to Rome, became a doctor.
Three generations later, great-grandchildren
in America complete college, speak and read
two languages, teach others.
In retirement, we go back to the earth,
away from gritty cities, grow basil,
zucchini, spinach, and learn from books
to knit and embroider, can tomatoes, make sausage,
knead dough for sweet rolls. We buy eggs
from neighbors and semolina flour,
heart of the wheat from Italy,
to make pannetone and pasta, which we dry
on white cotton tablecloths spread on the bed.
© 2018 Joan Mazza
Editor's Note: If this poem(s) moves you please consider writing to the author (email address above) to tell him or her. You might say what it is about the poem that moves you. Writing to the author is the beginning of community at Verse Virtual. It is very important. -FF