In Procida


in Procida the shapes of roofs

are never to be trusted

irregularity is the norm

but curves more than lines



they reflect something essential

in the character

a willingness to adapt

to embrace

to deflect

you could call it

the problem of the south

this absence of hard facts

this uncertainty

re. plane geometry

morning & evening

I hear the snore of the torch

tarring my neighbour’s house

against who knows

what possible winter

& later in winter

returning again

I find a good roof

is not a sufficient defence

against the elements


in Procida the oranges

are brighter than flowers

more profuse in winter

against the dark leaves

& come in three ways

those that are sweet

those that are sour

& the little mandarins

whose flesh shrinks

from the skin

like elderly scholars

whose flesh is less

than what it contains

& here the oranges

are colder than stones

& more profuse in winter


in Procida the streets

are petrified

of lava

signs warn of danger

in case of damp

jet gleams

in February’s rain

the memory

of an eruption

tongues wet


& people wait

where they lie

like models

in alabaster

in better weather

they walk

the streets

forget nothing


the stones sing


8 thoughts on “In Procida

  1. A homage to the island of Procida and something to remember in these cold grey days of an Irish Winter.
    I hope I haven’t posted it before.
    I still can’t work out why the last line of all my posts is in a larger font size than the rest. Luca, any ideas? I paste them in from MS WORD.

  2. Very moving William. Now that I think about it, never been to Procida myself, although I have lived most of my life in front of it. Yet it is also a rather well-known ‘coutry retreat’ for some young intellectuals I know, who live in naples and love it for gardening and writing.
    Anyway, I especially like the rhythm of it, like a sort of self-counscious breathing…I’m not offering up for an Italian translation (a bad time for everything really), but if noone comes up I may in the future. otherwise, there’s plenty of good it-eng translators around here… love to all s

  3. Thank you Serena. Of course, I find it strange that anyone else might have discovered Procida before me – that is always the fate of the stranger who stumbles upon a place and falls in love with it. In fact, come to think of it, is true for all kinds of lovers coming to terms with the dual conflict of (a) the fact that the beloved has loved and been loved before and (b) that not everyone in the world finds her/him loveable!
    I’m afraid I never met any intellectuals in Procida, much less young ones.

  4. Unfortunately I don’t think I’ll be there again for a while. Too many commitments for next year! I hate to see the calendar filling up. But thanks anyway.

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