Here I sit, in this strange mad city, Rome
Filled with ruins, history, scalding sun,
Painted basilica and vast volcanic places,
Lakes, where rumour has it, murderers leave their victims
In bottomless pitches of interminable cave.
But, up here, palm, light, flowery, starry,
What a mad world.
Holidaying Italy thinks time’s a villain,
But put him behind a wheel, and he hasn’t got any! time!
What impatience! He’ll hoot life to a blind screech over hot stones
In thrusting hate. But lie back, here, here,
With near September hills sandy-green lovely,
Graceful trees opening eyes to implacable beauty
In lovely descents under chestnut laky skies.
Here, a happy lover of beauty must adore
Despite deceit, violence, scurrility.
Here, opening the ready soul to summery rapture,
An Englishman can in Rome’s “high summer”
Autumn through and through.
(from “The Light Of Day (I)”)