In the Shadow of Vesuvius
I am sitting in the shadow of Vesuvius,
a cup of dark coffee in an empty Trattoria,
quiet between busloads of tourists.
Outside are lemon trees with lemons the size of grapefruit.
The coffee is hot, just the right mix of bitter and sweet,
wakeup strong. The air smells sweet.
It is only my third morning here,
but already they treat me like a regular,
watchful for a drained cup. Here and there a smile
without the falseness. Into their eyes.
I am grateful. In the distance, the volcano smolders.
Yes, it is a memory. A fond one.
Of a home I only felt for a pair of weeks,
of being a stranger and feeling like something else,
like a fixture. A part of the ancient stones and sunshine.
I felt it call me. I felt it while there. I feel it still.
Too often, we are meant to be somewhere
besides where we are. If we are fortunate
we carry the perfect place with us where ever we may be.
Never mind that I am in a New York diner this moment
with knotty pine walls and crackly 80’s music,
Never mind reality, I am actually here,
in the shadow of Vesuvius, where I belong.
About this poem.
It is no secret that I feel I was meant to live in Italy, particularly Venice. It is amazing what two weeks can do to change your world. So the poem is about that. But it can be about any experience or any person who comes into our life and reminds us what life can be, should be.
Imagination is a powerful thing and I am grateful for it.
The picture was taken on the outskirts of Pompei.
Tom, I know how you feel. I sat in the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican and focused on the ceiling for three hours. It moved my heart and soul! Dr. Jim Brown