The boy’s thoughts were taken with a small piece of driftwood lying on the pebbles. A line of seaweed marked where the tide had reached earlier that morning. He stepped across it and picked up the piece of wood. It looked like an antler, but bone white, smoothed and polished by the sea and sand and salt. Out across the waves…
…there were maps in school and he liked maps. How big the world was. And he saw things on TV. But how did things occur, with him, there, holding a small piece of driftwood, the other side of waves?
Who said there are no poets any more?
There they are, croaking their message in the lake, evading imminent disaster. There they go, to return safely after ten whole days into the rubble and dust. But no one will have listened. Dionysus was waylaid. Aeschylus and Euripedes dead and bickering. Even Aristophanes only hums a distant tune. To hell and back without a hope.
But this is Italy, not Greece. The frogs are toads now, too. The court jester is king. He tells the townsfolk to take a holiday while the walls crumble.
No one hears the poetry of toads.
I do not wish to speak ill of life while I see her drying her hair and the coffee tastes so good. Outside the sky is winter-cold but clear and the buildings go up and up, all across the city. Last night, when we left the cinema and crossed the river, watching the tourist barges and all the lights along the banks, we knew we were lucky. I do not wish to speak ill. But then the radio scared us – and the heavens shuddered and the earth cracked and fell away. I do not wish, I do not wish.