FLORIN WEBSITE JULIA BOLTON HOLLOWAYAUREO ANELLO ASSOCIAZIONE, 1997-2017: MEDIEVAL: BRUNETTO LATINO, DANTE ALIGHIERI, SWEET NEW STYLE: BRUNETTO LATINO, DANTE ALIGHIERI, & GEOFFREY CHAUCER || VICTORIAN: WHITE SILENCE: FLORENCE'S 'ENGLISH' CEMETERY || ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING || WALTER SAVAGE LANDOR || FRANCES TROLLOPE || || HIRAM POWERS || ABOLITION OF SLAVERY || FLORENCE IN SEPIA  || CITY AND BOOK CONFERENCE PROCEEDINGS I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII || MEDIATHECA 'FIORETTA MAZZEI' || EDITRICE AUREO ANELLO CATALOGUE || FLORIN WEBSITE || UMILTA WEBSITE || RINGOFGOLD WEBSITE || LINGUE/LANGUAGES: ITALIANO, ENGLISH || VITA
New
: Dante vivo || White Silence

This brain-shaped cemetery for poets collects also living poets, such as Michael Kleine, Frederick Green and Malcolm Guite, a right-brain dialogue across time and space . . .



ITALIAN SONNET

MICHAEL KLEINE


I. Octave

            These questions must be asked as love dissolves
            In greed and arrogance, as earth, beset
            By our neglect, in heat and storms devolves:

            Did sonnet ever capture in its net
            Of words a value permanent and real?
            And now?  What sort of game might sonnet get?





Arezzo: Statue of Petrarch

His gaze includes us all, while far from there
We strive to iterate his fading form,
A music we might notate as our own-
Evoked by roses, ruins, dust, or death.

Arezzo, in this abstract way, seems near,
Our home, perhaps, where written sound, once born,
Begot our sonnet sense of all we've known;
Thus, Petrarch, here, observes our grasping breath.

Below his timeless eyes the Arno flows,
Firenze, first, and finally out to sea
Until it joins the universal rain:

We think we sow our fourteen textual rows
Alone, but hear a singing that might be
His florid voice, beyond all present pain.





His Private Case

In Arezzo, one can enter his home,
For a small fee, and observe there the rooms
He occupied, pacing, perhaps, to make
In mind a place where, later, Laura lived.

Did he know, then, that his idea of poem
Would guide so many sonnet-weaving looms,
Not patented, his pattern free to take,
An imitated textile that has thrived?

The glass cases contain some copied books,
Made by hand, the later editions done
By printing press so many times; if space

Allowed, there would be dedicated nooks
For published sonnets others wrote, but none,
So manufactured, in his private case.





Petrarch's Tooth

Petrarch's tooth, several fragments of his skull-
Displayed in Arezzo, aged ivory
Among the many manuscripts, encased
In glass, their yellowed history unexplained.

A dentist's pry?  A surgeon's saw?  Did pull
And rip release these remnants, roughly free
His underlying form of flaws he faced--
Decay, disease--so living flesh remained?

Or did some robber of his grave find there
These relics of a whitened skeleton,
More perfect when his body had decayed?

A tooth extracted after death from where
The superficial body is undone
Deserves to stay where bones of poems are laid.




Elizabeth

Poetry from Portugal?  More Petrarch due,
Her verses seem, as interlocked with rhyme,
And hewn as his, first eight, then six. In time
Much after him, she made his sonnet new:

Pentameter, an English way, in lieu
Of Romance verse, his loose, syllabic line
Less stressed, as though he'd stopped to sip fine wine-
Not for slowed sound, but to sleep, she'd sipped, too.

She's buried here, of course, among the rest,
Those English who loved Florence more than where
They might have thought a final couplet best.

And here she lives in rhyme, so very near
To Laura's lyric grave: a foreign guest,
She lingers in Italian ground they share.





ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING, SONNETS, 1. 'HIRAM POWERS' GREEK SLAVE, SONNETS FROM THE PORTUGUESE, 2, 3, 4 & AUDIO FILE IN PORTUGUESE, SONETOS PORTUGUESES II recorded by Roderigo Aras Caldas Farias who came from Brazil to visit Elizabeth's tomb. We collect translations of the Sonnets from the Portuguese, now having these in Italian, German, Spanish, Czech, as well as Portuguese.


Byzantium, Razed

Above San Marco's square a billboard looms,
The Eiffel Tower represented there
So time and place are blurred, post-modern lapse
That mocks the ground we think we occupy.

It is as though a displaced sonnet dooms
An epic, embedded in some book where
One expects surge of sea, hexameter, perhaps,
But reads, instead, a lover's terse reply.

And yet suppose we'd marveled at the place
Two hundred years before--mosaics, gold--
Composing sonnets as we sat amazed

By what seemed so sublime, the perfect grace
Of domes not dreamed in France, would we have told
That we in fact beheld Byzantium, razed.   




Dante!

Dante!  thou shouldst be present at this hour:
An inter textual world hath need of thee:
Fellini, others of his ilk, found film
A way to capture chaos on a reel--

But internet and cyber space hath power
To crash the self-contained, the book, TV,
And even cinema--they overwhelm
All media and digitize with zeal.

Were you to film your book as video
And stream it on the web in cantos, linked,
You'd give us chaos back as it was meant:

In time and space we'd backwards, forwards go,
In Paradiso find Inferno, inked
In pixel flux until our light was spent.


Audio Files in italiano:
Carlo Poli, Inferno V
Carlo Poli, Purgatorio II
Carlo Poli, Paradiso XXXIII



Saving Formal Lie

What use is there for form one wants to know
As oceans rise and hurricanes destroy
Geography we once had thought secure
Enough to live upon, composing verse?

Does any earthly shape remain below,
Secure, beneath our thinning skies, enjoy
A constancy we might embrace as pure,
Or do chaotic waves our order curse?

If Venice is erased like New Orleans,
If Florence floods away, then need we find
A higher ground, where form might keep us dry?

But even in the land-locked Apennines,
A fault could quake the stable lines that mind
(At least for now) their saving formal lie.





This Paper Box

Can paper box, a sonnet, say, begin
To hold the horror of the here and now,
The hubris and hegemony, the spleen,
When Berlusconi follows Bush to war?

The dead Carabinieri - it must be sin
That he and others of his ilk allow
The lives of boys to blow away, but preen
As magi, drawn to an eastern star.

These measured lines might serve some troubador,
Or even one who seeks romance of time
Long dead, of themes and tropes traditions keep-

But bombs? democracy imposed by war?
Torture? Terror beyond all reason, rhyme?
The blood that from this paper box must seep?




II. Sestet

            The ones who write in measured verse today
            (Mimesis lost) must feel futility
            Of antique maps to help them find their way.

            Perhaps form fails, but though we might not see
            How meter echoes times we occupy,
            Form fosters faith when all seems entropy.   





Carrara

Not north of Milan, I think that I see
In passing through a past of chiseled art
The great whiteness of the Alps - much too soon,
I know, but looming, seemingly, beyond.

"Carrara" reads a sign, and it might be
These mountains are the marble's source, the start
Of monuments that lie below, their ruin
Radiant as new snow in sculpting dawn.

Perhaps, while working, Michelangelo,
Who thought a block of quarried marble hides
A secret shape, A Prisoner, then knew

That here, where marble mountains melt, their snow
In fact is rock, a range of alpine Brides:
The source of art is art, a glimpse untrue.





How Is It Beauty?

How is it beauty comes within a frame
Of loss?  Perhaps in aging we can see
What never seemed so artfully composed--
A glimpse of green through a glassless window.

Let's say you'd come walking here, somewhat lame,
To read these Tuscan hills, and so feel free
Of your own age, its dearth; and let's suppose
A pause - before a ruined wall.  You'd know:

Standing in grass where once a darkened room
Had held another, dead now many years,
We likewise look through what is window, still,

And on the other side we see our tomb,
A dustless verdancy allaying fears,
Green vineyards bequeathed in a timeless will.   





When this Last Light Departs

We must begin to turn, begin to turn
From who we were before, from who we were
When we were young, were young, and dreamed each hour
Would always be the same, would always seem

So like those gone, but now we need to learn,
To know the echo from the day before
Is only that, and far beyond our power
To hear afresh a fairy tale, redeem

Dead days as new.  But if we turn to where
Franciscan monks intone, Fiesole,
Perhaps, their evensong might turn our hearts

Toward what we had never taken care
To hear - a hymn enchanting us away
To what remains when this last light departs.






Mia Figlia

Mia figlia--mia-guida,
I murmer, led by my daughter to know
I know not yet to speak as she does here,
In Firenze, her home for fourteen years.

Pilgrim parent, "my daughter is my guide"
Who leads me from my former life below
In which I wandered, lost, and could not hear
His vulgar voice, ascending comic stairs.

Guided, I grope my way past Virgil, go
At last to find in Petrarch's shorter mode
The way I was before she took my hand:

Rotto dagli anni, et dal camino stanco-
"Broken by the years, tired by the road,"
Mia figlia leads me to higher land.






Rudely Framed

A marble memorial: Dante looms
Outside the Santa Croce, edifice
Built for monks; he seems to lord over all
And somehow gesture at the dead inside.

Art and science, companions in those tombs,
Their heroes saved by sculpted artifice,
The renaissance displayed along each wall:
Fransciscan-built - an irony of pride?

One wonders if St. Francis joined the crowd
Of tourists here, somehow raised up to see
The grandeur gained from stark simplicity,

What would he find of what he'd done?  Head bowed
In prayer, perhaps he'd miss the nook, it's claimed,
Where fragment of his robe is rudely framed.






From Death to Given Grace We Turn

Did Petrarch make the sonnet up from air
To organize his breath, the words he spoke?
Or did its fourteen lines descend, like dove,
To give him words to write when there were none?

For Platonists, the sonnet, like a prayer,
Was perfect form before he wrote; when he awoke
From sleep, he found in it the words to love
So Laura lingers still, her death undone.

No matter whether Petrarch made or found
This form, it's stayed for centuries as our home,
Idea from which we stray, for which we yearn.

The stars, the sun, our earth, our flesh: all bound
To dissipate, we know, but in a poem
Like this, from death to given grace we turn.







                Michael Kleine

                Professor of Rhetoric and Writing
                University of Arkansas at Little Rock
                Little Rock, AR  72204

                E-mail: mwkleine@ualr.edu
                Phone:  1-501-569-8318







See Michael Kleine, Searching for Latini, 2006

See Iron Chain, Golden Ring

See also O Antiphons, Poets' Corner, Epitaphs, Italian Sonnet, Poems Pennyeach

And hear http://www.umilta.net/poemspennyeach.mp3


FLORIN WEBSITE JULIA BOLTON HOLLOWAYAUREO ANELLO ASSOCIAZIONE, 1997-2017: MEDIEVAL: BRUNETTO LATINO, DANTE ALIGHIERI, SWEET NEW STYLE: BRUNETTO LATINO, DANTE ALIGHIERI, & GEOFFREY CHAUCER || VICTORIAN: WHITE SILENCE: FLORENCE'S 'ENGLISH' CEMETERY || ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING || WALTER SAVAGE LANDOR || FRANCES TROLLOPE || || HIRAM POWERS || ABOLITION OF SLAVERY || FLORENCE IN SEPIA  || CITY AND BOOK CONFERENCE PROCEEDINGS I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII || MEDIATHECA 'FIORETTA MAZZEI' || EDITRICE AUREO ANELLO CATALOGUE || FLORIN WEBSITE || UMILTA WEBSITE || RINGOFGOLD WEBSITE || LINGUE/LANGUAGES: ITALIANO, ENGLISH || VITA
New
: Dante vivo || White Silence