Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, PURE DUST, by MARIA LUISA SPAZIANI

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PURE DUST, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Is this where tasso walked? Old sant' onofrio

Is this where Tasso walked? Old Sant' Onofrio
grey with the wind, in March, from out a wall
puts forth a new mimosa to console me,
graceful where the buds to come
were grains of minute sand.
The Tiber pushed its waves of mud,
but lymphless mud, pure dust,
and I, with bated breath,
that horrid anguished breath that does not sweep
its air into the bottom of our lungs,
was watching someone terribly like me,
an old man who was carrying in a paper
countless butts of cigarettes.

Is this where...? As some people
walk fatally through the streets, the song
of hope an eerie rumble all the while,
a code without a key. Pressing down from up on high,
the cupola of bronze, and we are spent,
solitary creatures, setting goals
both humble and secure (so as not to die):
the tramway home, then supper.
To wait for a letter brings a lump
-- a chain-like hard constriction -- to our throat,
and the Tiber churns and churns its dust
with no leaps or flashes, with no invitations
to found new cities...

Used by permission of Story Line Press.

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