Alessio Zanelli

Sketch For My Hometown Cremona poem
The Torrazzo of Cremona from the Po River floodplain, Lombardy, Italy

Sketch For My Hometown, Cremona

Rather than Amati, Stradivari, Monteverdi and even
popular heroes like Zanéen de la Bala—rather than all the art
and views you can inhale on all sides, the monuments
and museums, battlements and spires—rather than obscure
luthiers’ workshops and treasures of culinary traditions—
rather than medieval churches, sumptuous Piazza del Comune,
aged deeds and mottos (coat of arms’ Fortitudo Mea In Brachio)—
rather than any other mirror of the past, bend your eyes to special
traces in people’s faces: of antique cisalpine Gauls, who here
established a flourishing village before being supplanted by legions
from Rome; of various hordes of Germanic invaders; of Longobard
warriors, Charlemagne’s charges and Frederick Barbarossa’s
followers, and on up to Napoleon, the Austro-Hungarians and
World War II’s allied occupants and enemy liberators.

But do not stick to mere appearance—float in time, in the city’s
perfect anonymity, its absolute self-detachment as the placid river
Po, midway between Alps and Adriatic Sea, flows on, on its own.

First published in Potomac Review (USA)