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“Make it Last”

an Elegiac Sequence

DAVIDE TRAME —————————————————

Belfast Lapwing


“Make it Last” an Elegiac Sequence



DAVIDE TRAME 

Belfast LAPWING


First Published by Lapwing Publications c/o 1, Ballysillan Drive Belfast BT14 8HQ lapwing.poetry@ntlworld.com http://www.freewebs.com/lapwingpoetry/ Copyright Š Davide Trame 2013 All rights reserved The author has asserted her/his right under Section 77 of the Copyright, Design and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work. British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data. A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library. Since before 1632 The Greig sept of the MacGregor Clan Has been printing and binding books

Lapwing Publications are printed at Kestrel Print Unit 1, Spectrum Centre Shankill Road Belfast BT13 3AA 028 90 319211 E:kestrelprint@btconnect.com Hand-bound in Belfast at the Winepress Set in Aldine 721 BT

ISBN 978-1-909252-24-0

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Are due to the editors of the following publications in which the following poems were first: Daily Chores in Your Absence, Pennine Ink 33 Night in the Garden and A September Sunset in Venice‌ Vermilion Literary Project 2012 The Clouds Turbulence 6 Commuter Digressing Orbis 156 By The River Quattrocento 8

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CONTENTS “MAKE IT LAST”

........................ ................... CLEAR DUSK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . DAILY CHORES IN YOUR ABSENCE . . . . . . . . . . . . . VIEW . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . NIGHT IN THE GARDEN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A SEPTEMBER SUNSET IN VENICE, ON THE ZATTERE A STARE BEYOND FADING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . WHEN TIME WAS SLOW . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . LAST . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . THE CLOUDS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . MEMORY’S FEET . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . RECURRENT REVELS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . CHURCHYARD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . PIGEONS CROSSING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . COMMUTER DIGRESSING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . BY THE RIVER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . WITH YOU WITHOUT YOU

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“Make it Last” an Elegiac Sequence



DAVIDE TRAME

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In memory of Cristiana

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Davide Trame

“MAKE IT LAST” In memory of my wife who could make her glass, and everything else, last

County Sligo, Ireland : a pub on the coast, a stretch of strand in front, large as time, the tide had retreated in its own abode beyond gaze, ten p.m., June, still light, the glorious dusk, the horizon still staying in its luminous task. I remember an aged man in the pub, long profile, aquiline nose, Beckett’s kind, behind the bar in front of him the publican had just pumped in for him a pint of Guinness and, besides, its “stronger” brother, a glass of Paddy, dark orange by dark brown, I loved the texture and their colours’ frown. Foam dribbled from the Guinness glass brim and the man carefully, religiously, began drying it with a silken, large, chequered handkerchief, and he dried it all, caressing the glass, slowly, slowly. By the time I left half an hour later, he hadn’t yet sipped a single drop, pint and glass still untouched and shiny. (O he is still there and here and everywhere, I’m sure.) Now I am sipping my wine listening to the long chords of a bottleneck blues, to its sliding miles like grapes endlessly entwined, I want to keep sipping my wine until the end of time, ages, ages slowly winding are most welcome, I want them to dribble and leak a whole sky, and keep whispering their lingering paradise.

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“Make it Last”: an Elegiac Sequence

WITH YOU WITHOUT YOU i Now then, time beyond has come, the bite of the desert in each crumb, I am reading the first book I can’t talk to you about, but I tell you all the same, Ghost Light, the title, a bright thunderstorm of memories, unrestrained, like mine, a coincidence, but all is coincidence because nothing is, like you who are everywhere and nowhere while I read, words I can taste, rich like your eyes, in a book you could have held in your hands while propped up on your pillow in your rose armchair, the lamplight warm and mellow while in my room I could have heard the flowing silence of your reading, a river in the heart of the air, the dog sprawled, in the other armchair, over the carpeted floor, a pattern like the map of a wood, a cradling undergrowth, and white flowers in a blue starry night, the Chinese carpet, worn out but still bright, by day in the motes’ warm wonder of slanted sunlight, like you at the end, at sunrise, cheekbones like blades, but warmer than ever, like a girl’s, your gaze, when you woke up and could see me for the last time and cast me with half closed eyes a nod, and the quick sky of a smile: “It’s you, I know, you, that goes unsaid.”

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ii The dog knows. You told me many times she was just my own dog. Well, she is now, definitely, in this absolute space, in the to and fro of just me and her. And she knows. In the silence with no answers, in the dots of its still sky. But I am sure she doesn’t need answers, I am sure she can just wait without hope, as the poet says, like only a dog maybe can do, lying down, sitting, squatting, staring, walking, sleeping in twitching eternity. And waiting for anything and nothing. In the desert light of the kitchen a desert plant lies transfixed, in a corner, under the window light, and she knows, by your empty chair while the clocks ticks time’s unfaltering drops, while the heater and the fridge’s hums become one. She is waiting, she knows, her paws by my feet, her head, her nose just an inch popping out from under the table, she is waiting for her grissini, I give them to her piece by piece, she just a little, gently opens her mouth: it’s a rite, one of those dividing time, making it bearable, I line up over lunch, the pieces by my dish, like a straight line of ochre piano keys. And after the very last piece she just stands up and goes, she knows before me it’s the last piece, without seeing she knows, she can’t see over the table but she sees, as she sees you without seeing you.

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iii How heart-wrenching the word “last”, a vast “a” that goes deep down at once and the “s” and “t” that sever in a hush, leaving only memory, that enduring insubstantial stuff. No brambles in winter on the path, dry weather at last, frost and hard mud crackling underfoot and the mountain so bare and visible, so tangible. It’s easy to feel you present on this walk, in every rustle while the dogs are snuffling with roots, sticks, deer droppings… a mottled brushing universe, it’s easy to feel you brushing my side, breathing and brushing in my stride. Up on the clearing I gaze at the plain below in its gauze of haze and almost loudly call your name: the air blinks with the bare crowd of the hanging oaks all the way down, we used to start talking here, relaxing after the effort of the rise, those words are a silent flock now as I walk, a tightening heart in the air, spreading out on the earth where the dogs are kept busy with their snuffling while rushing down, while my monologue endures beyond the word “last”, in the stare of the plain, in its expanse.

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iv Your love for dust is with me now, so I can’t dust much anything at home, I just gently touch, caress dust and gather some of it as if it were light, light that has come down to us as matter, around and over our maze of outlines our surfaces, home signposts, routes and sites, the smooth stones, corals and jewels in the bowls, the piles of books by the bed, the photos and pictures in their frames, the bottles on the floor, along the kitchen wall, in corners bathed by the seasons of window light, the absorbing stare of things that just stay with their quiet force of staying. Because you loved letting stay there anything that happened to get there, you simply wouldn’t touch that anymore because it had deserved its place, it had deserved, like you now, to last because the word “last” is also a verb that wants to be impressed on us beyond breath and loves the firmness of a place, like dust that must be gathered as gently as light.

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v And I complained. I couldn’t stop complaining. I complained to you about normal nuisances, nothing unique, grievances well known for ages, “the insolence of office…” , but there was a gnawing in my tone that took your breath away, choked the horizon, poisoned the sunsets, their openings, their splendid redness, by the lagoon, when you came out of the dark of a calle and the sunset on the bank shone in all the quiet beyond, beyond the tall ships, beyond the palaces on the island in front, beyond the scattered greens on the sandbars further on, my complaining spread and took all that off, and you absorbed the poison, tried to dilute it, tried to show that openings were still possible, you said nobody had the right to betray the horizon that was always painting the promise of another day. Now, in the pulsing desert of this new time there is no reason, no wish for me to complain, now that sunsets are so transparent and painfully beautiful, the grip of their redness so vast and clearly absolute, in the silence that makes any complaining ridiculous: “vacant shuttles” my words had always been, driven just by their own momentum, a dull fire fed by anything, this I must confess you now, walking by the tall ships, by the lagoon stillness, in the late Sunday silence; and on the stones of the bank by the sunset redness, I am asking you for forgiveness, its openness in me, like the palm of your hand.

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vi Your gaze when you were looking out of the train window standing by the door, waiting to get off: it was our rite while arriving, you stood up early before the stop and I followed a little later, a bit reluctantly saying why now, there is still time, you liked being ready in advance and you looked good waiting at the door, there where the train’s roar was louder your eyes mirroring the sandbars’ veins, the ripples on the water, the sky skin whose dots thronged in a blur of “why not”, why not staying forever here, why not letting everything just pass, the grass turning into grass, in your eyes I sensed vast acceptance, a hello to anything that could turn up and go; now, in the present, in the grip of this desert, the train is stopping on the bridge once more, the bora blows and lagoon waves are crisp, I look at a cormorant which is flying in a dazzling taut line on the water-skin, your eyes are in me now taking all this in and I want to arrive and space in the arrival holding myself tight in your gaze, by our city walls, in the wind’s rest on the waves.

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vii I thought there would be no more longing and anxiety; after the funeral while they were lifting your coffin I looked beyond the church at the winding mountains, everything was winding and swimming in my gaze and I told a friend by me I was sure that from now on everything would be the same, equally unimportant with just your throat of sky and shattering silence at my side, I was right in picturing what was really going to be, myself alone walking in a meadow of short grass, feeling no boundaries in the low sun, emptiness like a tiger, its stare uncompromising in your spreading absence but I was wrong about everything being the same, I was wrong about no more anxiety, maybe it’s that “life must go on”, so anxiety flows and longing expands in winding, wider lines, because you are expanding, now while I want to tell you about the beauty of this slope, its grip on me in a flash when, turning left after a ditch, I catch the lines of the hills into view and the sparkle of river fingers, a shaft of slanted sunlight on the winter hedge and the blotches of glistening mud on the path, painting the silence, I talk to you in your expanding, in your relentless spreading I’m enduring, in and beyond the heart, with the wish of following you and simply falling apart, though I’m still walking, in the field, in the lines of your face, in the tearing reaches and rustling sky you embrace.

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viii Questions about you can be endless: where and what you are beside me, in me, like the unknown cities in this endless plain where answers seem to depend only on myself walking and my faith, it’s all quiet, neat here, not the nightmare I was expecting, no smouldering rubble, no-one emerging with bloodshot eyes from under, there are just a few happy people, the houses are newly painted, the grass freshly mown, it’s my village actually, the one I felt should explode because you had gone, it’s instead just so terribly normal, and me so very present and swept off, normally walking and gazing, estranged, the mountain horizon widespread in vain where I am being stormed by my inner talk with your eyes in my face, your eyes and … another’s juxtaposing, surprisingly new, belonging to someone I barely know with whom there should be everything still to do. I think now, those eyes are the future you left me in which you want to see how I can cope alone drawn to them along estranging walls; you are testing me then and in this bright dawn your sprightly touch is in my veins, your gaze behind another is my challenge and ache, but it’s you only who, being behind the shades, can carry advice through silence, on the stage of my bare plain.

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ix I know the hiatus between silence and words when words long for words in vain and are absorbed by silence. Now I am sure you know that words do not offer solution and only silence gives advice. Your advice that is beyond words and acts, a gesture beyond the craving of instants. Your eyes behind the air are so wide that can support others, your eyes of quartz quiet and June light through a forest. Any hiatus vanishes in them, in the flowing of leaves’ breaths, sun’s whispers and shadows, where advice keep going. I remember how your words once pierced me when you told me that peace inside must be wanted, not longed for or taken for granted, but wanted, “willed”. Now my day has just begun in the dawn silence, I am on the bank of the canal waiting for the boat to appear around the bend, there where the air stares at the lagoon in lilac stillness and ripple-strewing. On the skyline of ships, cranes and factories the cormorant is passing, slender neck and black wings like blades quickly cutting, pictures like this, of the world’s canvas sailing, is what I have always dedicated to you, you being their reason before I knew it, you in whose gaze I could settle any staying and leaving and now that I am left in the light of your leaving I must strive beyond any desert to be in tune with silence in its weaving and the sky preening, and absorbing, fast beating wings.

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x With and without you spring has just started, raw earth and air releasing a warmer vein that is always new although we already know it, the cherry and apple blossoms fists of whiteness like the vast question marks of children’s stares and the awareness of a broadening sunlight in an instant, when absence is a wound while the breeze caresses the grass, like manes and waves ceaselessly strewing and alluding to what can’t but pass. The spring sky bit me at midday at the roadside, a breath of beauty that bit me because it took me instantly to you, who are like the spring sky now, close, immanent and vast and impossible to grasp, it bit me while I was walking back home, back to the piercing instants of memory and desire after the reassuring bustle of the working hours, it bit me telling me you were the sense behind any bud’s enthusiasm, now both sense and absence together with this brushstroke of sunlit sky dotted by fists of whiteness. You, near and swallowed by the blue emptiness and sudden on my walk like a blossom’s stare.

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xi Hints, all pointing at you, like a swarming of dots, the familiar fog with its showering of tiny drops, thoughts from all corners turning into thoughts, my interior monologue’s relentless fever, a fugue in the labyrinths of Venice, sandbar and stone, echoes of leather soles by the canal, but now I’m alone passing by the same marmalade cat on the doorstep, a tomcat we came across a thousand times, who miaowed like now, a single, long plaintive cry with his wide demanding, staring eyes, like a gypsy’s, we said, yes, demanding, persistent and never giving up, like life, as we walked on telling him “what can we possibly do dear? we would be happy if we could but we can’t open your door…”, and it’s what he is again asking me now, his fur ruffled by time, reminding me at once of you, of time that has and has not passed, here in this dawn fog, our own hanging sky, so close, you said it’s not good for anything except the skin, and I, who relished each word of yours, could drink the sky and walk on air, the fog’s droplets bathing me like a balm in the flowering dots of our talk that could lighten a blind strand, the foam line spreading and retreating on the water’s edge, a counterpoint to our words, in which everything could brew, persistent hints like now, staring and swarming to you.

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xii And these are the days I would like to share with you, when spring spaces forward and spreads out better and better, I should disappear for it but if I still can’t it doesn’t matter, spring asks to be painted while staying in the picture at one with lines that lure the palette in a joyful mixture, since what wants to be born overcomes any fixture, in a way I am staying and disappearing at the same time toasting the approaching climax of silence and light, gazing at the yellow old plaster of the house in front clotheslines along chinks that can be two hundred years old, the yellow plaster has anyway a new warmth, full yellow like the blackbird’s song that now tastes so mellow when spring lands like stunned honey in each furrow, in the street where the flapping laundry filters sunlight’s marrow, and in the grass where I still hear the shuffle of the dog’s nose who inch by inch tasted the ground with aplomb and pose; I look at the balcony and see it has come back, the stripe of sun our cat jumped in and in which he loved to bask while now, by a glass of wine, I say “you’ve gone too fast” and sense the spring light through the window, its stare and feel my brush in the silence painting your breath with flower-heads that dare.

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xiii Time beyond then and in the desert of the here-and now, what remains: things, undeniably solid and still. And you in them, a scent beyond scent, silence in its iridescence. I am sitting at your cherry-wood desk that is brown with a full breath of orange, a spring hue I can almost taste, it’s a solid wood plane embedded in the bookshelves that are a whole block hammered in the wall, one day you leaned with your knee on this desk and pushing down you said: “this wood will never break”, you looked both ethereal and proud of its sturdiness that is what I want to feel now, my own elbows pushing down needing the consistency of matter to balance the silence. Time beyond then, an unknown plain passing, dotted by quiet sounds in the silence, like this indefatigable birdsong, I am listening to the joy of persistency in the same three-four notes filling the lasting evening blue. I think we are, in a way, wood and stone with something of ours hammered into earth’s bones although at the end we are maybe only memory and air, trees in blinking sun and trails of clouds and shadows, and despite being aware we only pass on meadows, we want to endure.

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CLEAR DUSK Time of dimming light but so clear now, any dreg of the day thoroughly absorbed in the air. I am crossed by flashes of bats and swallows. Black bright seams of sickles. They plunge and soar shrieking. They are joyful sky lashes. I am always a child smiling at this quiet bustle. I space with it. I am leaving and staying.

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DAILY CHORES IN YOUR ABSENCE The oleanders must be watered, the flower-heads droop easily in the heat of the day. I use a ten litre water can, I walk up onto the balcony, a big step from the corridor and bend among the branches towards the mottled grey of the granite vases, the water can is heavy to bend, my hand is on the handle that was grasped for so long by your hand, there is a current in the veins and tendons of my arm. In the breeze and silence of the balcony. In the distance children play and cry, from windows I hear lulls of voices, maybe lullabies. On the carpet in the corridor the dog’s bowl rests. I leave it there for some time after she has eaten, a rite. I leave it there after filling it with rice and chicken or duck’s meat, after she has jumped for joy seeing it. Literally jumped, all four legs in the air, eyes firing and a head-shake. Now the blue bowl is there where you said it was her favourite spot, on the carpet crossed by a sunbeam by the balcony glass door. From the study I have been hearing a tapping and slapping and munching, a matter of a minute as when you were in the drawing room over there enjoying the scene with a sidelong stare.

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But now you are not here. My eyes are watering. You are not here. You are anywhere, nowhere. I pick up the bowl, put it in the sink. You are not here. You are not. You are.

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VIEW Autumn is ripening now, outlines sporting their rustier shine and we back to the GMT too but it’s a clear dawn, a breath of blue rising down there, rose-veined, a steady spreading from the train window after my usual, stark workday start in the dark Memories trickling like drops on the glass, or along the blur of the running tracks, like eyelids blinking or shadows of fingers: you in your glow, flashing back, eyes riveted to our garden, their light calm like the dew, but with a sparkling that could be only urgent, earth eyes with sailing, staring roots, -I feel I don’t have much time, I don’t want to waste anyand I, just scared, trying in vain not to feel too much what was too crystal clear, I, trying my best sidelong glance. And now that instead I can gaze straight at the ever absent glow of your face… Now that I breathe this view and the light opening the land, with a clarity in which there is nothing more to say or understand. Now that, more than ever, time is not to waste. Light rising on the ineluctable landscape’s blade.

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NIGHT IN THE GARDEN It’s night at last, all frames almost blurred, and no more hardened by light, no more pitilessly evident. I am sitting in the rocking chair in the garden, all lights switched off, the earth letting its cooler breath mellow the silence. Now thoughts can glide and pretend nonchalance, sliding on the skin of the dark, I hear cars whooshing on the road behind, fast swarms, the persistence of the present, the asphalt so smooth in its familiar grey -take a plunge, it seems to say, gaps are easy to bridge in the night. I am breathing now the darker dark of my garden’s tall trees, shadows like seas, where you can space, swim, in the persistence of absence, in the darkness that makes it just a little bit more bearable. Let me stay then enveloped in darkness, this plain now unframed cradles me in the illusion that everything is the same, let me stay in this dark where crickets mirror my heart in their bewildered choir, here I can still endure in my aching and please let dawn be long, long in the making.

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“Make it Last”: an Elegiac Sequence

A SEPTEMBER SUNSET IN VENICE, ON THE ZATTERE Venice and the Zattere, I have left them for too long to tourists, as postcard matters. But now the Giudecca line of palaces on one side and straight there St. Mark’s orange and gold just look like mine. In the late blaze of the season with no cloud in the sky. Plasters crumbling brightly in patches, oozing damp and salt and blushing, I dare say, like skin, in the familiar smell of lingering summer closeness. In the rosy choir of colours. Rose pastel and oil and the water-colour of the lagoon. Let me say it’s all mine. Because I was born and have lived here and met the person I loved most. In a sunset like this that now spreads on its canvas the memory of who I lost. And transfigures it in a breath I can almost taste. “Transfigures it” yes, let me say this while feeling its force as a further sense, brimming with silence and magnificence. Since it is silence we are all sailing into.

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A STARE BEYOND FADING I remember you in that shop in the mountains where we bought the woollen sweater I am now wearing, light blue like the haze in this late winter morning. You said you knew I would like it, I loved the interlaced pattern of the fabric, lines gently knotted and vertically flowing like paths filling me with their treading. I’ve always thought since then the breath of rocks, turf and wood lives in this wool, it’s what I’ve always sensed since that moment I saw the shop assistant unfolding the sweater on the wooden counter, light blue wool soft like this haze, a maze of transparency in which you silently sail, you who are now the air’s needlework, on my skin, in the patterns I’m wearing, the sky perspiring, a stare beyond fading.

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“Make it Last”: an Elegiac Sequence

WHEN TIME WAS SLOW Memory or mirage, the whispers of May leaves and thick grass in which you got lost, stalks erasing any trace of a path, your horse stuck in a ditch, legs trapped in its narrowness, a black furrow, and you waiting while she galloped away looking for help, maybe you were even hearing her horse’s hoof-taps while she jumped over hedges and pools, or maybe it was just the mayflies clustering around the horse’s eyes while he squatted in his knotted posture, saddlebags in the mud on his sides in the full cupped silence of sky like the grasp of a flower in the heat, you were anxious in the wait, in that mute green, till the horizon offered a silhouette, an old man with a stick and a cardigan walking quietly, when he reached you he seemed to restart a talk he had interrupted by chance, he slowly said gazing at the horse: “ This one? Let’s see.” He stood on the edge of the ditch and with the stick’s handle he calmly hooked bridles and bit and lifted up, and the horse in a flash was on his feet in an explosion of splattering mud, you felt at once like the breath of all the fields, vastly glad and didn’t mount the horse but took the bridles and walked in the idle lush grass, in the fields’ open labyrinths, their large instants,

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you thanked the man then and are still thanking him now, still walking with him in your mind’s eye slowly to a house the horizon has still to reveal, in waving hedges and a wind that heals and brings you back to a more still time, to a summer evening in your countryside where you sat as a child on your farmyard wall and watched your great-uncle cut wood sitting on a log, settled in the air’s stare, short axe chopping, a full supple sound echoing like glances in the ground, in the lasting dusk your eyes drank, in the land’s arms.

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LAST I am on the quay watching the progressing moon eclipse. The night is large here on this expanse of grey concrete by the lagoon with its fog-promising wind. The dark patch on the moon has reached almost the half of it, red moon they said and showed how it had been once, black-veined red embers in an orb like in a campfire you could poke in while chatting after dinner. They said next time will be in twenty years. And this is what brought me here, standing and staring above. Twenty years. This can be the last time. One of the many last times. It’s still early, the night is quiet but behind me I hear people already crowding the streets, children stamping, shouting, clapping, with that feeling of cheers like at the end of the year. The black patch is progressing further. But no red embers yet. The night is long and vast. Last times take all their time to last.

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THE CLOUDS First white stripes, then swelling fists out of the top of the highest mountain with its hat, as they called it, soon becoming huge, growing in layers, like the souls of flowers, all over us, crowding the blue and, around, the mountains’ choir which, like knuckled bones, almost rang, stung by the sun. We were sitting on deckchairs in the hotel garden, head tilted on high, breath riveted on the slow seconds’ glow, you by me in the fearful unknown of your illness, silent under the silent bustle of the skylight. And they, up there, passing, hands transiting over everything, delivering the frowning of shadows, spawning and spreading the puzzle. Layers mirroring what moves inside brain and body, but lighter looking aloof like the coiled or distended gods’ sleep, being shred and reshaped and looking like everything it’s possible to look like, recalling, reminding, reporting too maybe, lulling. I was looking into them searching relief, but I sensed their power of just being far out, beautiful like distant flowers, unquestionable essences for us in the earth’s claws.

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MEMORY’S FEET On the top we found snow, a lot of it, virgin, powdery. Snow and sunlight. We ate our lunch on a bench, a fir-tree grazing our heads. We munched silently surrounded by the infinitesimal eyes of the glitter, the blanket of blinding dots. To go back down we took a path swallowed in snow and our sinking in it was slow but definite, in the thick carpet white like amnesia. So we turned back, scared by blankness, and found another path where snow was friendly and not much, just enough to cushion our steps and soften the descent. The other side of the mountain faced us snowless, mauve, soft to the eyes, a stareour ancestors’ maybelike an assisting nod. A nod that stays, now, stuck with the obstinacy of the stones that, though scattering, keep close and roll while clustering around memory’s feet. Like faces and names that no matter how forgotten don’t want to go away. 32


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RECURRENT REVELS A “baseless fabric” dear Bard, this substance, a web of recurrent shuttles weaving the wind like the woodpigeons all over in the branches spangled with berries and briars, breaths and stares of the rich dark green, this cooing reminding of a quiet relentless atom grinding, like your interweaving blades of syllables, like in your theatre dear Bard, where the same actor who played MacBeth last year has just played Prospero now, so I have come across the recurring of a same, vast, dismissive and defeated tone, like a solemnly resigned: “There is nothing we can do, you know…” and I couldn’t but feel a nod recurring inside. “Our revels are now ended…” echoing last year’s “she should have died thereafter…” End impending in a swarming wave upon this baseless fabric of ours dear Bard and, although we know it well, we avoid thinking that what we keep marvelling at is nothing and that we are just going to be swept away, we are just stubborn maybe, because we are still alive, we let our baseless flags flap by the river and try to shine all the same with our stream of purposes in the night. Stratford-upon-Avon 2012

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CHURCHYARD On the wooden bench you are swaddled in green and gusts of wind and the pageant of clouds passing, the day glittering with emptiness and the frank infinity of the air. By the church walls and the shrubbery sun and shadows clash like polished blades. You face the lawn with the graves, the blackened headstones with the yellow circles of old moss, you watch these time-spots and the best you can know of the final rest, the grass retaining a light of its own, the large shuffling of the willows and the tight rustling of the cypresses whose green is so strong in the sunlight that it becomes the dark blue of the sky in the high mountains. This wooden bench is where you would always like to stop waiting for your gaze to be gazed but not expecting it really, you would just like to sit and watch the infinite air’s ways and the afternoon stretching into evening and the evening into everything.

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PIGEONS CROSSING While the motor boat rattles on I see them there suddenly taking off as if shot from the roofs in a gust away from Venice stone banks that are rows of houses really with windows directly over the water expanse. A small flock fluttering in haste over the lagoon, towards a horizon of sandbars and brambles, and the brewing mainland’s heart. A small flock and then another, yes, they are many, but wavering, even vague, not at all steady as the gulls, as if they loved being unnoticed and in that way regularly let pass. I have never imagined birds like these taking such a long air plunge, maybe they have been preparing themselves all their life for it and now the moment has come, the big leap. Fast beating wings like soft arrows in the dawn sky and, below, ripples on the water. Stage after stage something of ours continuously leaves and stays, a ceaseless succession of wings asking for readiness while brushing the gaze.

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“Make it Last”: an Elegiac Sequence

COMMUTER DIGRESSING Train window, quite a frame: another year starts in the ashes of bloom, the sea of cornstalks, withered now, bronze filaments, a burnt crowd in the low sunlight, or burnt gold, rustling in memory, the stream of the past. The train sails, I am stuck to the mast. Stuck to this frame. The grey heron by the lakes, or sheets of wings in their sky filling a whole glance like a distended cry. And the buzzard, I have realised today the very hook of his beak while he perched on his throne, the same pole in the vineyard, I have taken in his wings: the map of a forest in shades of brown, I have pictured a crown, birds which must have always been kings. I am stuck to the frame of this reign, as with my journey. The train stops at the midway station and I am waiting in my bit of eternity. Stuck. To just this frame. Until we move. Then what? My fingers are drumming by the train window: it’s all around us, the Beyond: when it likes it’s good at piercing our heart; any moment could always be the last. 36


Davide Trame

On such verges we are prickled by a shower of sparks, being infinitely much more than anyone knows what passes between heaven and earth. And so we, stuck to the frame, having “nor youth nor age” in swarming cells, pass. Say it’s because of destiny, genes, why not dreams? Each of us strutting and fretting, stuck on a flash of its own. Now we move. My fingers drum by the train window until the station is gone.

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“Make it Last”: an Elegiac Sequence

BY THE RIVER A steady flow at the dinner table, even when something sticks in her throat and her voice becomes a thin, frayed line and she coughs and laughs, eyes watering, but all the same resumes her talk, the fruits to buy, the fish the van now carries straight to the doorstep, the air conditioning it’s now time to clean up and switch on, “now it’s time” to resume what has always to be resumed and she renames the thousand chores, the roots we row on, the pebbles for the current’s tongues. A refreshing thunderstorm has started tonight, the trees are bending, touching each other by the window, the dark sky’s hair hisses in the blind swarming, leaves shuffle like fingertips on the panes but she is old and doesn’t hear well and hardly notices, she doesn’t even bother to close the shutters, she is all taken by her telling about an old dress she has just restored, while the rain loudly drums in a pipe over the cooker, a steady tapping, and we inspect the wall fearing a leak but it’s all dry, it’s just a sound in between the settled waves of her voice. I love the way you love the bend we have discovered in the river with this small waterfall and the other one there, the sunbeams’ waterfall on the sunlit mossy rocks in front and the stranded log where we are sitting which the dog has at once learned to use as a trampoline: a quick glance to us before jumping and a splash breaking and restoring time.

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Davide Trame

Time has passed before we discovered this. And with time we will pass. Or stay, who knows, iridescent water in a steady gaze, listening to the current on the pebbles.

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“Make it Last”: an Elegiac Sequence

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L A P W I N G PUB L I C A T I O N S

DAVIDE TRAME

Davide Trame is an Italian teacher of English. He started writing poetry in his second language almost by chance: dedicating a poem in English to a class he was teaching in 1993 which celebrated the students’ and my successful protest action in order to get a better school building in the town thirty-five kilometres outside Venice where he still teaches. In 1996 he started submitting his poems to publishers, mostly in England and Ireland. Getting one published in the first year of submissions seemed a chimera. When his first poem was published in the poetry section of Books Ireland in 1999 he couldn’t believe it, he put the cheque they sent him as payment in a frame! Since then his poems have appeared in around six hundred magazines mainly in UK and US but also in South Africa and Australia and Prague. The poetry magazine in which he felt most honoured to be present in is The SHOp where his work appeared four times, most recently Daily Chores In Your Absence. In 2006 www.gattopublishing.com published a collection of his as a downloadable book entitled Re-emerging.

The Lapwing is a bird, in Irish lore - so it has been written indicative of hope. Printed by Kestrel Print Hand-bound at the Winepress, Ireland

ISBN 978-1-909252-24-0 £10.00

Make it Last  

A sequence of elegies on a lost life

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