The Brodie Press
My Italy
‘Pace, pace, pace.’
Francesco Petrarca

When the balconies blossomed with identical banners
all the colours of a rainbow coalition
in suburbs we wandered around street corners
where housefronts were forming an apt quotation;

and though the peace party would inevitably lose,
I wasn’t inclined to fix tired eyes
on anything else than flags like those -
that one word printed on them more than headline-size.

So we followed the parallels of apartment balconies
bedecked with allusions to a poet’s words
in earliest springtime while flowering magnolias,

cherry trees by sidings, and soundbites of birds
were also just responses to our long-prolonged cries
from the states’ and petty tyrants’ perpetual wars.

Parma, 22 March 2003
[first published in The Times Literary Supplement]

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