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Cypresses

March 25, 2011

Aboard a bus between the hills of Rome
and Florence, I was dozing with my wife
but heard that cypress means eternal life.
Our guide talked on; at least one fact hit
home.

I saw the cypresses upon the hills,
like spearheads pointing heavenward, leaf-
green
up close and smoke-wreathed flames of life
when seen
through Tuscan haze. This dreaming vision fills

the wine-cup of the poet’s mind, I think;
the lamp that hangs by golden chains above
the sculptor’s stone. So Dante’s verses sink
so deeply in the soul, and rays of love

revealed to toiling Michelangelo
a David in the marble’s ageless glow.

-Thomas Zimmerman, from The Corner Club Press

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