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Here you will find the writings of the poet Theodore Waterfield

Return to Sicily

These fine peasants that left their Sicily!
Their wandering roads,
vines, overturned columns of Phoenicia,
the blood of tribes
that pushed their ships from the sand
and danced under gulls,
singing the poetry of blue hills
lapis lazuli sea,
and came to the hard fortress
of the New World.

Traded the warmth of their blood heritage
for the gray towers of New York,
the forbidding armies
of tired, frightened faces
looking for a dream,
somewhere in the dirt and gravel
of this ominous world.
Oh Rosa, with warm breasts,
the smell of gardens!
Antonio, with your hands
soiled with the truth of Sicily’s soil,
her fleet of ships
coming to harbor with holds of fish,
wine, grown on the sides of sun covered hills.

The laughter of children,
faces moist, warm as doves
held to the cheek.
Children with a thousand years of faith,
the brocade of women taking them to church,
with families exchanging greetings,
touching hands,
smiling with the faith of an old land.
Eternally in love,
a people holding each other,
wiping away grudges with tears,
come to the chill of New England.
Their clothes ragged, covering confusion.

Where is the sun?
Where is the embrace of friends,
the ancient lineage of our lives,
the deep well of love and courage
that fought invaders,
the eruption of volcanoes,
earthquakes.
Flowers on every sill,
the blessing of priests,
the sharing of wine and water?

Little Italy,
with its bright flags
over the wasted ruins of a slum.
The joining of hands,
the marshaling of hope on door steps,
calling from windows,
how is your son?
Is your daughter betrothed?
Has your husband returned from the west?
And frightened,
love that passed between souls in the night.

It will get better.
And the resolve, above pots of geranium,
to go west,
to the inland states of Ohio, Pennsylvania.
Can we plant our vines?
Will the olives grow?
Do the factories pay?
Can our little ones succeed?
Hang on. Hang on.
Stay in contact, write, call,
a neighborhood here and there,
until we’re on our feet,
and we come home to Sicily in our hearts.

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