local_library Descant From A Roman Rooftop

by Martin Bennett

Published in Issue No. 205 ~ June, 2014

‘Only up onto the rooftop get’ and hear

Jets’ pinpoint thunder, their scheduled roar –

Rome-Milan express, bird-trill, hacksaw

Nextdoor (or is it ‘er rotolino’?),

Hammerblows distance softens to marakas.


Sonic thread linking arch with Pyramid,

Landmark gazometro, belltower, dome,

Trams rattle reassuring red-green-red;

Half-a-city nestles in my inner ear,

Its descant extending the range of home.


Local long jump champion, now far now near

A dogbark clears districts; sirens take turns

With this butterfly, exquisite silence

Signaling transit between heaven knows where.


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Martin Bennett lives in Rome where he teaches and proofreads at the University of Tor Vergata while contributing occasional articles to 'Wanted in Rome'. His poems have appeared in 'Stand', 'Poetry Ireland', 'Descant', 'The Independent' and elsewhere. He was the 2013 winner of the John Clare Poetry Prize.