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By A Swimming Pool Outside Syracusa Analysis

Author: poem of Billy Collins Type: poem Views: 2

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All afternoon I have been struggling

to communicate in Italian

with Roberto and Giuseppe, who have begun

to resemble the two male characters

in my Italian for Beginners,

the ones who are always shopping

or inquiring about the times of trains,

and now I can hardly speak or write English.

I have made important pronouncements

in this remote limestone valley

with its trickle of a river,

stating that it seems hotter

today even than it was yesterday

and that swimming is very good for you,

very beneficial, you might say.

I also posed burning questions

about the hours of the archaeological museum

and the location of the local necropolis.

But now I am alone in the evening light

which has softened the white cliffs,

and I have had a little gin in a glass with ice

which has softened my mood or—

how would you say in English—

has allowed my thoughts to traverse my brain

with greater gentleness, shall we say,

or, to put it less literally,

this drink has extended permission

to my mind to feel—what's the word?—

a friendship with the vast sky

which is very—give me a minute—very blue

but with much great paleness

at this special time of day, or as we say in America, now.


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