Tuesday Poem: Terremoto in Italy

In the last few days we've had a series of earthquakes in northern Tuscany - most of them between 4 and 5.4 in severity.  No damage, but a lot of rumbling and shaking.  My first real experience of an earth tremor was in Italy three years ago and I wrote a poem about it, which was also about the minor quake going on in my own life at the time, involving the decision whether to move to Italy or not.  Since then, of course, I've experienced Christchurch, where the earthquakes were not so benign. I seem doomed to spend my time in shaky countries!


Camaiore: May 2010

Today I felt the earth shudder
under my bare foot and
my head was dizzy as a ship at sea.

A cup shuffled along the shelf
and a green lemon dropped from the tree and rolled
across the cracked marble of the terrace.

For a second I was arrested    
in the moment of lifting a jug of iced
water that slopped over the rim onto my toes.

The roof-tiles chattered as if
someone was running a thumb along the edge
of a deck of cards at Scopa.

And then a pause - everything still.
A breeze fluttering the leaves of the olive trees.
Everything as it was before,  except

that the rock I am standing on has shifted
a centimetre further south and,
bare-foot, jug in hand, my life has moved with it.

Copyright Kathleen Jones

Please hop on over to the Tuesday Poem main site and check out what the other Tuesday Poets are posting! Today's hub poem is 'Oh Dirty River' by New Zealand poet Helen Lehndorf.


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