The little city-states were local politics,
the politics of local knowledge, local pride.
The brick town blossomed on the green hillside
empurpled like a bursting grape. Natural genetrix

or gesture of dominion, the campanile soared
toward imperial skies (burnt sienna blaze
of civic energies) to match that enterprise -
a local rebuke, rooted (immemorial, round).

There, in crested shields and emblems,
dragons, eagles, intricate insignia,
the might of unaccountable dominion
met midget heralds of a parish realm -

the merchants of the Nine - and lost
their sway (temporarily) to a democracy
(partial). Upstart, vain, swaggering city
complained Dante (from a rival Boast

of Italy) - forever seeking access to the Sea
(irascible wasp still whispering denunciations
in the shade of an eagle's pyrotechnic turns)!
Meanwhile Lorenzetti freres (in their piazza

seashell) turned sunlight inward (against
the walls of the Palazzo). Soothing massage
of frescoed radiance framed a stern message
for elected lords : rule by violence

results in anarchy (and desolation,
finally); rule by justice (on the other wall)
results in joy. It was a note to the imperial
Henry (in the end) : peace is earth's foundation.

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