One morning in Vernazza when my window was too wide;
One morning when cathedral chimes and dreams had to collide;
One morning when the shuttered streets no longer let me hide,
I made my way down to the shore to touch the early tide.
The dawn lit misty daylight candles floating in the air;
The water was as silver as the fish sold in the square;
It lingered on my fingers like the incense on a prayer;
Murmured like a lover with her promises to share.
Promises of ships to leave the golden sand
With harvestholds of golden oil come streaming from the land,
Giving up its bounty; planted, tamed, and planned
By the drywalls and the terraces and the human hand.
But hill-life is a hard life, far away from any town;
Horizons are too empty, except for up and down;
Unless you count the night wind, there isn't any sound;
When life is only vertical, there isn't any ground.
I'm back here in Vernazza now, back in the tourist trade,
Passing plates and smiles around inside the brutal shade
Of red and green umbrellas that never seem to fade.
Not like the dawn and promises and choices that I made.
In Vernazza by Judy Schilling