The Light of Cortona


Ancient history lives

In this hilltop village.

Sunflowers greet the morning sun.

Old men liberated from labor

sit in fellowship on sun warmed stone steps

reviewing the parade of those passing by

with judgments confirmed by elbows on windowsills above.


Generations of knowing hands

shape and nourish this mountain's soul.

cutting the Carrara, painting pastel walls,

forging bricks and burning charcoal.

Dancing in the piazza begins and ends

days of wedding celebrations.

Flowers and wine bind the kisses

of the bride and groom.


Old floor boards creak,

shadows of ghosts speak,

the Bubonic decimation,

betrayals and family feuds.

faces of evil send

forgotten messages of Torquemada

and the blackness of the fascist fist.


Centuries come and go,

the dance of good and evil

On this peaceful perch

mirrors the drama

of the world below.

The sun will always rise

on this gentle pinnacle,

dark forces can never extinguish

the light of Cortona.


Milt Ehrlich