Tag Archives: Italy

The Notebooks


Harrod re-read James Wright’s poem “With the Gift of a Fresh New Notebook I Found in Florence” after traveling in Tuscany, where she had lost her notebook. Still upset about it, she wrote the following poem.

Mine. Lost. Not found.
No amazing grace. Lost like a saint.

Left on the balustrade on the top floor
of the Palazzo Pubblico in Siena.

Left to shuffle its scroll in the air.
The opposite of James Wright’s,

Fresh New Notebook Found in Florence . . .
This secret field of the city

down over the hill from Fiesole,
the gift of a fresh new notebook.

His empty.
Mine fat and full.

Child come almost to term.
Perhaps someone found it, saved it

passed it to another, said
someone left this up on the portico,

or shrugged, E ’in inglese,
laughed at the sketches,

non tanto di un artista.
tossed if before reading the lecture notes,

Christ’s foreskins
multiplied like loaves and fishes,

the degrees of relics and artifacts,
who touched, who did not.

Lighter and lighter as the seasons pass.
But, so far, this field is only a secret of snow.

Earlier we had been standing
in the Sala della Pace,

looking at the “Allegory
of Good and Bad Government.”

Even in that well-ordered city
the dress of one dancer

had disappeared,
that botch of empty fresco.

Afterwards we walked
through the rain.

Note: Italics (other than the Italian phrases) are excerpted and re-ordered from JamesWright’s poem “With the Gift of a Fresh New Notebook I Found in Florence” (1982).

Lois Marie Harrod’s 13th and 14th poetry collections, Fragments from the Biography of Nemesis (Cherry Grove Press), and the chapbook How Marlene Mae Longs for Truth (Dancing Girl Press) appeared in 2013. Harrod is widely published in literary journals and online ezines, from American Poetry Review to Zone 3. She teaches creative writing at the College of New Jersey. Read more of her work at www.loismarieharrod.org.