The brutal sunshine gives no light
Except to weary eyes.
How can one see this market-place
Save with a dead surprise?
Here fish were sold; here wine was drunk.
The fish shop and the bar
Have changed as little as oneself
After a long war.
One climbs the steps and thinks the thoughts
Suggested by the fact
That other further flights are gone,
But grateful for their lack.
A mutilated god surveys
An atrium of air.
There worshipped by the tourists, who,
Godless, greedy, stare.
The trees put back can give no shade
At noon to one who reads
Augustine’s deep-cut marble words
Above the rampant weeds.
Mother and son were here and saw
Eternity stretch out
Beyond a window looking on
The open docks of doubt.
And here she died and here he wept,
And where they were is dust
Most carefully sifted - tears
Causing bronze to rust.
Also the theatre. well rebuilt.
Also the church, decayed;
And look, mosaic fish denote
A stall where money stayed.
So many rooms with nothing there
Such silence and such peace.
If that’s the word for absent life,
For Rome as gone as Greece.
One moves away to eat and drink
Among the better junk
A bar just like the one one saw.
And the grain ships? All are sunk.