Bagni di Lucca

Greg Freeman

The clock shows different times on its two faces,
both wrong. We arrive early,
work out the ticket machine
and validator, settle down to wait
for a train down the steep valley to Lucca.

Marble seat; two statues of nymphs stand guard.
Disused fountain in bushes beyond the platform.
Secretive station whispers of its past,
when eloping Victorian poets
might have alighted to take the waters.

You say I come alive at such moments,
snapping rusty water pumps and wild flowers,
euphoric for the first time since the motorway
jam and day-late flight. Anticipation
of stations, tracks. Funny no one else is around.

The Brownings, with their new child and maid,
stepping from the train, seeking cooler climes,
fresher air after Florence. The walk they liked
to take along the river, Elizabeth nursing the sonnets
she would show him for the first time. 

The clock ticks on, with its double inaccuracy,
for almost an hour. We notice red signals
in either direction, re-read the times.
Robert and Elizabeth’s shades can rest easy.
Our train won’t show; August in Italy. 

Poetry Atlas has more poems about Tuscany.

Main Location:

Old Train Station, Bagni di Lucca, Tuscany, Italy

Other locations:

The town of Bagni di Lucca in Tuscany, Italy