Over the mountains, the horizon along the crests.
Not a sound all around. Conifers in the shade of twilight,
then snowfields, tongues and cirques of glaciers, walls of rock.
The joint line of sky and earth like a boundary between selves.
Below, the call of home, at the bottom of the valley,
a walk through the dark of the night in the light of the soul.
But not before a glimpse at the flight in circles of the eagle,
under a moon slice, an embroidery against the heavens.
More than enough for today, quite a portion of everything
on view above out there as well as deep down inside.
The Tramp In The Beech Wood
At a loss for words, suddenly, the tramp.
Mute the ridges lined with moors,
his long-standing whisperers.
No longer able to entertain the clouds,
the shadow of the smooth storyteller
who could listen to hills and hollows
dissipating in the wind,
now he mourns in the lee of a grove,
hidden mostly from his very self.
The soul shrunken, as if sucked empty
by the silence in the cloistered vale,
lest his body be blown away as well,
nearly transparent, he tries to blend in
with the old trunks of the beeches.
The northerly picks up, though,
more and more penetrating.
Time to be on the move,
which he’s best at,
and escape the watershed
between life and survival.
He may still not know.
Ancient sandbars await him,
to be trodden on and spoken to again.
South Yorkshire To South Lombardy
For all it’s worth to a displaced flatlander
(so much indeed!), his home the reign
of unremitting sunshine,
at last the tongue of Atlantean heat has withdrawn,
superseded by cloudbursts of Atlantic rain.
The heather’s soon to bloom
on the upper moorland,
dyeing it brownish purple,
and take us quickly through the height of summer,
lively but short-lived like poppies.
Remember this blue-mauve sky,
this cooling breeze,
these verdant, rugged, midland slopes,
when again the hazy mugginess
is gnawing both your brains and lungs,
by either day or night,
once back in those scorched, boring plains of yours.
You’ll have to cope with them before you know it,
but now rejoice in all of these.
Can some for keeps if you can.
In St. Mary’s Graveyard
Among several hundreds
of rather outdated graves,
most barely readable
owing to erosion,
that of some Hilda Berry,
died 12 August 1977 at 68,
appears to be the only one
kept from being perused,
albeit relatively recent.
A thick bunch of nettles,
springing from the base,
obstructs the inscription.
While strolling the yard
it also struck me that
there were no cats around.
As a rule, stray cats are found
in English graveyards.
There were sheep, though,
left to graze at will,
a cheap, efficient way
to tend the consecrated lawn.
Hilda couldn’t care less,
whereas I do,
but obviously sheep
don’t like nettles at all.
Look up for the time is ripe—
not even seers would deny that.
And if stars shouldn’t shoot anymore,
on account of a cosmic strike of sorts,
against man or what else I don’t know—
I’d use the remains of my childhood dreams
just like fluorescent neon markers,
to streak the silence of the night with colors
and picture fireworks all across the vault.
Before I write my next piece of truth
in the shape of fluctuating lines,
my empty mug cools down,
and remembrance fails—
I’ll have filled up the void I cannot name,
wiped out everlasting nothingness,
made sense of these overflowing skies,
befriended their affronting vastness.
Only then I’ll be allowed to lay down the pen,
mute my conscience out awhile,
drift off to well-deserved sleep.
A Clearing In The Wood
Black was the night, obscure the road,
afoot apace, carelessly alone.
So sure about the path,
as confident in my mettle,
yet all of a sudden through the wood,
with no more trails to follow,
I brutally realized
how wrong a guess it had been mine,
still refusing to retrace my steps.
Soon trunks and bushes thickened,
all I could do was grope around,
astray and helpless.
Despair had gotten
both my ghost and clay,
the grisly thought that I would never
make it back on track in time.
Almost totally discouraged,
capitulation loomed just beats ahead,
when trees started to thin out,
to then dissolve.
I reached the middle of the glade,
scraps of sky appeared,
the clouds dispersed as well,
till every single star lit up.
I found Polaris,
pinned it to my eye,
made it my sole guide,
set off afresh, again in stride.
I had finally understood,
no longer scared of the wood.
Alessio Zanelli is an Italian poet who writes in English and whose work has appeared in some 170 literary journals from 15 countries. His fifth original collection, titled The Secret Of Archery, was published in 2019 by Greenwich Exchange (London). For more information please visit www.alessiozanelli.it.