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   NOVEMBER 22nd--A HAPPY THANKSGIVING to one & all!



The words of Puccini's hero still come to mind:
Scialo da gran signore rime ed inni d’amore. Per sogni e per chimere e per castelli in aria, l’anima ho milionaria. Talor dal mio forziere ruban tutti i gioielli due ladri: Gli occhi belli…



It was my pleasure to see Francesca for the first time in an afternoon showing of Collateral Damage, one spring Sunday not long ago. My pleasure!... as it will surely continue, e senza cadere.

Francesca Neri...how can it be described? I'd use the phrase 'First laid eyes on her', but that would be inaccurate, implying something other than stumbling reaction. At her sight the fact is my eyes retreated somehow, defensively as if to weather the assault, as though caught suddenly under a breaking wave at the sea shore.

As though already knowing what was to come!

A certain phrase I found within Berlitz sums it up nicely, as I hope it did happily and may I say fluently repeated from memory, with little needed of encouragement, more than once at a recent college reunion:

Non ho visto una donna cosi bella dall'ultima volta che ho guardato le illustrazioni in un libro di fate...

In 1950, at least (the first edition date of that Italian primer), the term 'un libro di fate' means 'a book of fairy tales'. The fictional speaker, a visiting American named Miller, is exclaiming, sotto voce, about a lady he also has just seen for the first time--the lovely, if also imaginary Amalia.

Francesca Neri, on the other hand, need not be imagined.

Thanks be to God--if as in all things, still, especially for that! When I was a schoolboy, friends, especially those in parochial school, sometimes debated regarding the Almighty's ability to create a rock somehow too huge for Him to lift.

To me, Francesca's beauty is perhaps as tremendous. Somehow to lift it--to do it justice or merely to bear it...

Well, it could happen...and he salutes her, who is about to try.





Ventuno



Il cielo è pieno,
La chiesa della notte;
Dovunque che vedo,
Tutto è stelle

Pigro o altrimenti,
Con il mio venti-venti,
Nella foschia,
Alla deriva,
Non posso contare.

Ma non ho bisogno,
A causa di Lei:
Tu sei la prima,
Un duomo
In quel mare.

© 2014 Dave Blanchard… .to Francesca Neri





Where Daylight (xxiv.–La Belle Dame avec Merci)




As though in counter-point now to the gale,
Its shrieking settled to a softer moan,
He rose to leave--now turned, as though his tale
Demanding more. With effort in his tone,

Its substance lighter in the massive hall,
He spoke again, a torch now in his eyes:
Most lovely, and indifferent, too, of all
To love, save it should profit her, the guise?

Or yet if private, one of greater good—
A heart that anyone can see her wear…
Not gaudily, as all the world would;
Instead—where else? Her face. Look for it there.


Quite gaudily indeed, the breezes through
The door, now as it closed; the distant view.

© 2017 Dave Blanchard…to Francesca Neri