Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Siena in the rain

Perhaps the least enjoyable day of our holiday. But still, the less successful visits are often more fun to write about. This poem is evolving daily.

Siena sotto la pioggia

(I hope the Italian is correct - it's supposed to be a silly dig at TS Eliot's use of other languages, just to show I'm not a monoglot.)

The guidebook shows
sunlit postcard views
the campo from the tower,
the palio.
Twelve horses career around the sloping square
for glory and honour,
Flags blazing gold and red on black,
sharp shadow shapes.

we park.
Five escalators
clatter and clank
us up to steep streets,
cobbled and
gleaming dank

tall buildings
to hold the sun at bay
why bother?

The campo
reflects the palace tower
in hints of light and shade.

Umbrellas sprout,
generous fungi
bright, determined, cheerful
despite the clinging drizzle.

They wait in lines
or play a game of dodge
along the streets.

Washing at high windows
so picturesque
above the tourist throngs
so wet.

The duomo's marble is fresh washed,
its glorious gilded frontage,
backed by a crane.
They are everywhere
in Tuscany this April.

A covered market place,
shelters crowds from the drips;
kids run and throw food,
or wait for a bus.

Below a sign
via dei malcontenti
I stop and pull a face.

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