The Italian Lesson

By HONOR MOORE 

 

To bind at last

the loose miscellany

a first love left

and shattered.

 

That summer

in Florence alone

she stepped

into the Bargello,

room of Donatello, of saints

given shape. 

 

This time to speak

not fear language

 

but it was raining and

from her attention

the 4 o’clock instructor

vanished.

 

Thunder,

a miniature apocalypse

torrential across

the castle window,

she takes up

an essay about

the great Irish poet.

 

Again the girl

of twenty

now in Cambridge,

in her hands

a turquoise book

about that poet,

her brain wrestling

 

toward a still point, what

to be faithful to.

 

A language

in fragments,

at her ear, the present

storm binding her

back to what it is

that breaks then

frees the mind.

 

[Purchase Issue 13 here]

Honor Moore is the author of three collections of poetry—Red Shoes, Darling, and Memoir—with a fourth collection forthcoming. Her most recent books are the memoir The Bishop’s Daughter and Poems from the Women’s Movement, which she edited for the Library of America.

The Italian Lesson

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