Ode to Praso
Praso: a gray little spot on the map of the pink Italian Alps;
St. Peter’s bells warn your day and your night,
And the green of the pines overwhelm the rainbow.
Praso: you walk in company of your steps’ sound,
Hugged by the night;
While Venus, as your sharp sister, glances at you.
Praso: Do not get fooled by the rivers that sing in the summer;
Maria feels like a big rat in a prison
Free to go, but she doesn’t know where, when and why.
Praso: One hundred tall, solid stone houses
Sat as tired men on the clevage of the mountain.
Brown stones that surrender to the chestnut trees,
Which surrender to the pines, which surrender to the grass,
Which surrender to the sky.
Bricks and stones took over the wood after the last arson in 1880
That in few minutes stole the future and boringness.
1915 A village for the ghosts, wearing Austro-Hungarian helmets,
Trying to stop the history wearing Italian uniforms, from the Fort Corno,
On the top of the mountain.
Infants, brothers, grandfathers, sisters and mothers,
All were ordered to leave,
When the Italian bombs started to fall as hard candies.
Paolo, Sara, Rita, Marco, all of them left the village,
Walking in the snow for other worlds, only 50 miles away,
Where they were welcomed as too many bees around a drop of honey
Too small to be share.
Also Irma Bome’ born in 1913 left
And brought her smile back on 1918,
When the Italian flag covered the Austrian one.
She found her house violated and chickens and cows and pigs stolen.
The price to become Italian.
In 1931 Irma expecting little Ina was dumped.
“We had sex just a couple of time and she got pregnant.
Women, all the same” He thought
And the smart guy jumped to Africa to fight someone else’s war,
Leaving Irma and little Ina to fight their own.
So Irma put her little Ina in her grandmother’s arms
And as Olga, as Maria, as Elsa had, went to scrub
Praso: Where Ina’s daughter learnt to read Pinocchio
Now she can eat polenta,
The white school has become a restaurant,
Can you believe that?
But the big black fountain, protected by the hill,
Where our young legs
Become fins, is still there,
For our children’s legs.
Praso: the Ceredina, green for its chestnut trees
And Tio, brown for its mushrooms
And the Dead Men’s Hill,
Blue for its berries
that have covered the red of the soldiers,
They are still there for you.