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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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