The Tomb of Ignazio Silone

by Frank Banton

Nothing could have changed here,
These twisting alleys with chickens
Pecking the rubble of earthquakes
And a family of three gathering blackberries
In a field of crumbled stone.
Here where dust evokes
The inevitable legacy of time
A toothless old woman framed
In the darkness of her doorway rasps
“You are looking for the tomb of the writer?”
and points to the ragged slope
before returning to immobile silence.
Up above where she pointed
An iron across stands embedded
At the foot of the old bell tower
With a view out to the valley
Drained s many years ago
So a prince could have his farmland,
And the visitors will feel like a pilgrims
Leaving wildflowers for an offering
Because he is still bearing witness
Like the peasant saints of antiquity.