The Great Oval Circles

The Great Oval Circles

A man can balance

at the edge of a mountain

hold only a ledge built into the rock

peer from behind a parapet

over a shrunken landscape

sheltered from a fall like a china dish

on a shelf without a lip.


Look down to the people ways

carved in continuous travel

hallways through the stone

down to the great oval

circles scribed in Siena


Walk along the mountain path

to the piazza in front of the church

where people dance:

hands speak

touch palm to palm

dance circles

in the piazza

Once in the church boys came from all directions

in the loft the sound of their young voices

approaching in a chorus in front of dusty sunlight

stretching through the windows

crowded in the pews

young children sat in the aisles

and on the altar steps


An older generation waited

closed eyes keep an open mind

a mass between neighbors

as open as the sky

listening to the faint sounds of a city in motion.


The sun made red stone steps at dusk

places to pray between rock and shadow

away with daily routine

surprise and gesture

keeping memory together

a beating heart pulsed.

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