Rome, 2014

The toss and turning of traffic

And people frenetic in

A menagerie of ancient sites

And modern sounds.

 

Foods at every corner,

Next to beggars with forlorn eyes

And venders spruiking the charms of

Everything imaginable.

 

Scooters zip through traffic

With inches to spare,

As cars and buses

Play a garish game of

Who will go first

And who can avoid

The never ending

Organised chaos

Of this old and ever flowing place.

 

And through all this human traffic

Runs the ancient river, Tiber,

As silent as a snake,

Winding its way among the trees

And whispering and hissing in the buildings of Antiquity:

The churches,

The squares,

The monuments,

The galleries,

The museums

and the statues lining the ancient ways.

 

It speaks in its flow about

Times before the empire and the church,

Back to the most primitive of times,

To the epoch of myths:

Of Romulus and Remus

And the she-wolf.

 

And around the corner,

Among the suburbs,

The edifice of the

Great Colosseum

Stands crumbled and proud,

Tall and imposing,

Flooding with tourists,

A victim of time.

 

No more can you smell

The flesh of arena death

And the screams

And wails of sport

Written with human blood.

 

But as you climb it parapets

And look down with awe

On this stage in human history,

The marvel of the grand arena

and its ancient stones

Strikes you with its beauty

And provokes wonder about a people dead

But still forever living,

A people that build a empire,

And carved a passage to today.

 

25/3/2016