Saturday, February 9, 2013

Sonnet to Sicily

Sonettu a Sicilia

by Frances Di Savino

This isle, age-old and new, so close and far,
its rocks, its soil, its vines, bear fruit and wine;
its light, its heat, its winds, swell sea and star,
to see and smell, to hear and feel them shine;
This we came to touch, to taste - then to show -
the roots, the flavors, and fragrant places,
the coasts, the hills, where native grapevines grow;
to roam orange groves and ancient spaces.
Thus we scribe your story of then and now,
of pilgrims questing for the golden thread,
of farmers tilling earth and pushing plow,
to plant and harvest, of both heart and head.
Marsala, Menfi, Messina, Milo -
Read your long-lost tale of love and vino.

I wrote this sonnet as a gift to our editorial team at the University of California Press in honor of the publication of our book. My inspiration was the first sonnet ever written - a literary invention of Giacomo da Lentini, a notary and poet in the Sicilian court of the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II in the 13th century.

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