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One Day in the Apennines
Gary Metras

Caprese, Italy
What isn't stone or plowed earth is green
in these mountains, field tobacco shivering
in late morning light, bright fig trees
on hillsides, netting stretched beneath them
to catch the sweet fruit and save the backs and legs
of old men. A few pigs and sheep forage on slopes
so precarious death smiles. Some valley floors 
are flat and farmers there feel blessed,
live longer; some sell a few acres and new 
houses are laced into the landscape—
for the first time in generations, city people
move to the country and begin to fall in love,
as long as the train to Rome runs twice a week.
In these mountains all exalt the village of Caprese,
it is the mother of Umbrian pride—there, years ago,
a farmer's wife sliced olives and tomato,
added them to garden greens, sprinkled it with oil 
and Romano to invent salad for her men;
menus across Italy honor that village
with its name scripted on their tinted pages.
But before that, in 1473, a minor government 
official was quietly transferred to that village;
it was not an auspicious post;
a son was born to him
there, who became

© by Gary Metras.
Used with the author's permission.


Gary Metras is the author of three published books and fifteen chapbooks of poems; his latest,Captive in the Here, is due out this year from Cervena Barva Press. Now retired, Gary taught high school English for thirty-one years and college writing for six years. He is the editor and letterpress printer of Adastra Press, which specializes in hand crafted, limited editions of poetry chapbooks. He is also an avid fly fisherman and president of his local chapter of Trout Unlimited, the largest cold water trout conservation group in America. Gary lives in Easthampton, Massachusetts.


Post New Comment:
Thanks to all who enjoyed my poem enough to comment. I am humbled and pleased. Italy is so inspiring in many ways, as have most of my occasional travels. On this particular trip, a bus tour...7 cities in 14 days....I was jotting poems in note book even before we left Rome! Gary Metras
Posted 03/17/2014 10:45 PM
Lovely details and a surprising turn. I hope one day to travel to Italy - your lyrical account takes me there.
Posted 03/06/2014 09:54 PM
Just love this poem Gary. Pouring rain here and I dream of the hills in full sun--in Italy.
Posted 03/06/2014 01:30 PM
Lovely; a beautiful scene. I had no idea where this was going,but the ending seems just right.
Posted 03/06/2014 11:53 AM
I am there...beautiful, beautiful! thanks on this cold and snowy morn...
Posted 03/06/2014 08:28 AM
What a nice poem this morning. Thank you, Gary.
Posted 03/06/2014 08:25 AM
Ross Kightly:
As a rampant Italophile I have to love this poem! It is always a source of amazement, the thought of such creative genius as Michelangelo or Leonardo or Giotto or Fra Angelico or even quite a few who do not end in 'o'... Thanks for this one, taking me back to my beloved Italia!
Posted 03/06/2014 04:26 AM

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