The Leopardi Pile-up

You drive. I'm in the back with baby,
The road from Cornwall home a long unravelling
Of marriage. With our misery complete,
The summer heat
Bakes like our tempers in a car that's travelling
Back to a kiss and make-up, maybe.

Of course I have a book: the great
Canti of Giacomo Leopardi, bereft
Shepherd in darkness singing at the moon.
And all too soon
The Blind Disposer took him. We have left
Thirty-four songs to contemplate.

You hit the brakes. The seat belts strain,
Taking our mass. Ahead, a sluggish queue
Of cars, the drivers blankly staring out
To see the rout
Of flesh by metal and the much ado
Of bloodshed in the other lane.

A certain one, betrayed by Chance
And Physics, who put his foot down in his haste
To be here at this moment of release,
Has found his peace
Within the turmoil of this thorough waste.
They wheel him to the ambulance.

Something is watching for the full
Impact of grief. Its vigil makes a life
Intractable as laws of motion, yet
There's no regret
In passion for a book, a child, a wife
Whose smile is summer's festival.

I would not look. I would not face
The spillage and the wreck. I said the party
For us goes on, as though love had forgot
That life is not
A poem, not even one by Leopardi
Where hopelessness ascends to grace. 


If you've any comments on his poems, K.M.Payne would be pleased to hear from you.