This early, the small birds’ trudging notes;
Six storeys high, a crane looms
As in graceful blessing…
Jay-walkers are Roman matadors,
Charioteers drive taxis.
Past the Palazzo di Giustizia,
Its face being lifted, under reed awnings,
We race like dolphins through wet sound.
A new day starts up
Through a halo of birdsong,
And I remember the Pietà,
She so clothed, he so naked; the withdrawn
Young face dreaming of her old son.
Vines branching up from each balcony,
Flowering pots in each window, whittled-
Back plane trees shouting green;
Umbrella pines guarding old walls.
… My hand held to that warm cheek—
I thought of what hands were
To Michelangelo—they hold, they save;
The hand, the maker, steadiness of the heart
—Son, my son—
The weathered church
Jail-grey across the street,
Over the lunging city—
Pink socks on a Vespa volley off—
Our hands may be cardboard praise…
Free his youth,
Give him grace to wake
To a halo of birdsong!