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JULY 20th--

       A new addition to Poems today!




Although as in Marlowe's dispassionately tragic words, "that was in another country", the words of Puccini's sad hero Rodolfo do 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--wish me luck!

...who salutes her, and is about to try.


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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


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Versailles, 1793


From here it never seemed as high--
And yet the cries that bring us here
More closely, and which do imply
Some ill, my dear, are cavalier;
The palace guard are true and tried
Their trials not our own.

The mob is ours, their discontent
But simple adoration of
The grandson's noon ascent;
And still a model here above
The common cries, our loving pride,
If, for a time, unshown...

Still, know that when our fingers met
Upon that glassy floor
Embarking on a minuet
I never felt as poor;
As feeble, there, to see you glide
An angel, all alone!

Pray with me, angel, then in thanks
For what the morrow brings
That you may find within these ranks
The love reserved for kings,
Who in each other's ardor hide,
May ours atone.

Pray, do remember this, though thousands lie
And millions do proclaim
Somehow I never loved you, or that I
Upon some block, did not cry out your name.
© 2003 Dave Blanchard