Italian Cemetery

Upon the lake of Como

Arose a ruby sun

In the red-wine eyes of the boys and girls

Another day's begun.


They laugh awhile and play awhile

And ski upon the lake

But the cicadas purr in the evening time

And it all becomes a fake.


Beyond their old basilica

In a locker they lie their dead

Two foot wide and two foot high

The names inscribed in lead.


A photo adorns the little stone box

They pile upon the row

But never again will a red-wine smile

Ski on lake or snow.


At six o'clock the skies are rose

A gale will end the calm

The red-wine kiss will fade from the lips

And the smooth skin from the arm.


They file their dead

In an indexed house

Sealed in stone so that even a mouse

Can find no bone to chew.


Their lives they lived in water and sun

They laughed in the scent of wine

But in the grape they cannot grow

no spirit returns to the vine.


Lay not up your dead in stony boxes

O Comesi -

lest at some harvest

your grapes should fail.