The day was calm, the sea still like a salt marsh.
Everything still, its short perched body still
on the tip of a stone along the dam,
a cluster of still dots around the blue back,
the orange breast and the long beak.
Just before spotting it you had been stopped
by stillness itself, sand and air
in their absolutely settled vast velvet.
One step closer and it flew off
skimming the water-skin, a silent
straight line of fast beating wings.
All sounds were muffled
in this day of low, glowing haze,
so you could say it was in the air
the praised pace of those lines
-At the still point of the turning world…-
with the simple shiver of a truth beyond words.
No wing then answered light to light,
the colours of its body would retain it all.
But you sensed all the same
the mute fullness that makes the world turn,
the heart of stillness where the gaze
ready for marvels just waits.
You hear them now inside, so distinctly,
no surf booming, no vast crash of waves
It’s all you know of yourself,
this hammering inner loudness,
this stubborn streaming of minnows behind the eyes;
and you hear the others too, at the water’s edge,
those who have left and are now flashes of sound
in the large rhythm of the surf roar,
in the sizzling foam that carries the speckled needles,
the fragments of their past endeavours,
hearty skirmishes extinguished in brightness;
other voices, other words but not yours, not yet,
yours are still thriving, intact, hurrying about
in anxious clusters, standing their ground
and gazing at the sea reeling like a swarm of bees
tightly, tasting the boundlessness;
yes, they’ll fight to the last before giving in
to their patch of silent glare, a distended beacon,
over there, not far off among the ripples.
At the water’s edge, in the cold wind
a lash of overwhelming light-heartedness
with a sparkle of nostalgia,
the child’s eyes laughing and rushing away,
your own eyes once upon a time
that flash taking off now
and with a happy fury remind you
that the present is fast and pure
and breathing means to be allured.
the naked line of the horizon.
What will remain
after the flourishes of your heart and mind.
They can reveal
life in its inner pattern, with tendrils
of smoky grey and mauve shades transpiring,
the memory of blood, the still
streaming trails of your will glowing.
On the garlands of the islands
they frame the stage for the cormorants,
for the straight lines of their flights
that brush the water-skin
and your breath,
wings beating in rhythmic frenzy,
resolution dashing off
in its native hue.
Keep your gaze still
on a sky filled
with these few brushstrokes,
on days of bright dusks
and flowering pencilled lines,
your eyes will be gently sandblasted
by heaven’s essentials, their X-rays pulsing
through the ashes of your wish.
You enjoy the light in your dog’s eyes
who is rushing flat on the ground towards you
to grab the stick you have just found.
A dash warming the strand,
your here-and-now in a straight cloud of breath.
You raise the stick tracing
an arc in the air with your hand
and she just flies with it,
body at eye-level, and higher, higher,
Now she lands, supple legs
minimize the impact.
And you both stand, breathless
in the wake of the myth
gathered up there.
The openness of the strand, the present
of a crystal clear day.
You in the cold wind who can’t
but walk fast and feel brisk
and gather all the possible warmth from the sun.
The waves being the here-and-now,
a proud swarm smashing up the past,
leaving a heedless quietness in their roar,
spreading the eagerness of the unknown on the shore.
No lost cradle of yours then, no marble halls
filled with echoes of feats to re-tell
in the long evenings of summer, lying down
in the vineyard in the after dinner hours.
Nothing but this beach, this stretch of emptiness
and the glare of sunlight on the water’s edge.
And images in their pure strength
your scattered heart will keep looking back for,
this dog for example whose name is Mane
and whom you know so well,
he is running on the causeway straight to the end
hopping from stone to stone, in a frenzy.
His untrimmed shot of curly black fur
stands out on the blossoms of white foam
and makes the horizon clearer, the waves streaming
in a pattern like fire
when it crackles and gathers memories
bringing them all back to their centre,
the present of your gaze.
I am an Italian teacher of English, born and living in Venice-Italy, writing poems exclusively in English since 1993, they have been published in around one hundred and fifty literary magazines since 1999, in U.K, U.S. and elsewhere. Recently in “Poetry New Zealand” , “New Contrast” (South Africa). “Nimrod” (U.S.), “Prague Literary Review”. DAVIDE TRAME