Letter to Paolo Terni


Still the same voice in the shadows of morning
somewhat darker perhaps but always precise
aware of the world, of what happens in culture
securely grounded in the crystalline measure of music.


Counting the years backwards it may be twenty
that we last met at Paris though we corresponded
slightly afterwards till you responded no longer
for unclear reasons regarding Egypt or sex.


Still you are there in the morning programme
of Radio Three no doubt still taking (you told me)
a couple of records to the studio to improvise mildly
on the thirties and Dallapiccola, Basani or Scarlatti.


Or the Strega Awards mixing a touch of predilection
and actuality with your immense erudition
you sent me some books as they appeared in Palermo
where a crazy lady loved literature including you.


So Paolo, you have always been surrounded by love
of delicate yet forceful muses from the tender
photographer of flowers at the Colosseum
to the also deceased princess of Marxist leanings.


Time tempts me by shortness to send you this poem
at the old address in Rome.


Italy, 2011

Paolo Terni, author and musicologist, died on the 10th of March, 2015