The high-strung Tuscans with their mimic battles...
elmora, battaglia di sassi, fist fights.
They make a game of it - Mary, local saints
watch from the bleachers. The contest settles
everything. 600 years of symbolic
clan warfare - ghost dance, sacred epilepsy,
scandal summoned to the pitch of travesty.
O these infinite recurrent mirror-wars
of rival caballeros! They make a pageant play
feud pay to winnow dry resentment and contempt
blooded with animal names. Trumpets,
drums, neighborhood flags! Oh say
can you see - the heart writhes
with parochial devotions - paces
its cage. An eagle plummets - laces
the sky with lilies, oak-leaves - scythes
earth from heaven. At that borderline
a frozen San Francesco stands in the sun
(collateral for all the vanity of Mammon).
He sheds his clothes... a simple sign.
The star of poetry rides with the bedouins
out of somewhere east of Somalia, near
Sheba's Eden - pursues the chanticleer
Etruscans (smiling from sand dunes
of Rome, from their tombs in the hills)
to vortex of contrada-nonsense -
meticulous hubbub of impious Sienese.
A candle burns the purple from their quills.