art

Pia De Girolamo: poems and paintings

Roma Trilogy

I.Testaccio

Accretion is the obvious word that comes to mind,

its Latin roots reaching deep along the Tiber’s banks 

as it flows past the hill of amphorae

flung away by oil merchants unloading their ships,

so long ago.

Shattered pieces overlapped layer upon layer,

interstices filled in by soil and seeds and weeds and trees

Til the new thing appeared-

Waste not, want not-

until the garbage dump became a garden

of sorts,

another hill for Rome.

II.Tevere

Gray-green water hemmed in to serve the urbs, 

finally released outside the walls 

meanders free,

sighing with relief, past the willows

and the tumble down banks,

past the shabby parts of the city where it somehow seems more itself, 

and less a stage set for someone else’s story,

gleefully carrying bits of it away to Ostia and to the sea.

III. Palazzo Massimo

Ancient villas once graced the Tevere,

then buried and  unearthed,

their frescoed walls restored to life 

in the Palazzo Massimo,

where one can wander through some Senator’s bedroom 

and lounge in Livia’s painted garden

watching the birds flitting among the fruit trees 

on a buzzy-hot summer’s day

and recline in the triclinium, awaiting

a servant-borne feast and sweet music.

I cannot help but feel the presence of toga’d ghosts

who roam the halls when the gawkers are gone

dreaming of secret pleasures

and bemoaning the modern world.

Roma

Pia De Girolamo  is a modernist painter who lives in the Greater Philadelphia area. Her most recent work up to the Covid 19 pandemic was based on the landscape both natural and urban in places as varied as Patagonia, Iceland, Rome, Italy and the Arctic.

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