poems

Chiesa San Francesco Saverio

A small church in old Roseto, Italy

 

Chiesa San Francesco Saverio, small and trim, sits shouldered

close about by houses, old and a few new,

well up the hill from lower down, a stone’s throw,

if the arm is strong, from the upper reaches of the town.

 

Straight lines and true, a single bell the only tenant of the peak;

a belfry small but arched and carved, topped by a ball and cross,

looking down upon a street steep and narrow where

slow of foot but fast on wheels, scant traffic passes by.

 

Above the doors a scripted lintel tops adornments carved,

while farther up a cross and chalices in stone

declare its purpose though its architecture tips

toward Greek and Roman motif in design.

 

Stones sparsely plastered with cement give texture to the front;

white balustrade tops off the structured wall,

stone slab steps from cobblestones lead worshipers inside,

smoothly welcome all who would approach.

 

Scarce eight full paces measure off the width along the walk

which fronts the narrow building crowded in

between its neighbors which are pressing from both sides,

yet it holds its place with dignity and grace.

 

This is the church high on the hill in old Roseta, Italy;

it tests the strength of those who worship here.

When the lone bell calls, the answer is the tramp of many feet,

on cobblestones they troupe to service in the hallowed hall.

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