What isn’t stone or plowed earth is green
in these mountains, field tobacco shivering
in late morning light, bright fig trees
on hillsides, netting stretched beneath them
to catch the sweet fruit and save the backs and legs
of old men. A few pigs and sheep forage on slopes
so precarious death smiles. Some valley floors
are flat and farmers there feel blessed,
live longer; some sell a few acres and new
houses are laced into the landscape—
for the first time in generations, city people
move to the country and begin to fall in love,
as long as the train to Rome runs twice a week.
In these mountains all exalt the village of Caprese,
it is the mother of Umbrian pride—there, years ago,
a farmer’s wife sliced olives and tomato,
added them to garden greens, sprinkled it with oil
and Romano to invent salad for her men;
menus across Italy honor that village
with its name scripted on their tinted pages.
But before that, in 1473, a minor government
official was quietly transferred to that village;
it was not an auspicious post;
a son was born to him
there, who became
© by Gary Metras.
Used with the author's permission.