Castello dei Banditi: Third Battle Stations

Posted by ractrose on 5 Jun 2019 in Art, Poems

Oil painting of city-scape



The Folly

Battle Stations





Castello dei Banditi


Companions among Toscana’s dead

Dead of centuries whose tombs

Are plundered of their gold, but of their masonry

too, sledged by quarriers shaping chamber walls

Cornerstones re-founding Christian halls

Those seats of state where patriarchs and queens

Departed granted favour yet, or sought-for pardon

Mothers, fathers, benign to sorrowing offspring

Voices raised whose hailings, to the Contessa di Barucchi

Come in a brightening her eyes have been bequeathed

the gift to see

She can, she has, seen yellow walls in black and white

She puts aside the photograph

‘That,’ her visitor says, ‘is quite astonishing, Desmond, I mean…

‘Fellow’s name. Spot on.’

She ignores this hesitant apologetic tone

‘Because I take an interest in your young man, I forgive you’

‘Forgive…what have I done?’ Suddenly ill at ease

She has sussed him out, or her spirits have

Well…why suppose? Rather, why doubt

This legendary woman

Has close and potent counsel of strong energies

Figures of storied courts from times predating Rome

‘And so…I shall write and say, to our client—’

‘You will take my dictation, write to him what I tell you.’

Austere. She forgives but she does not…and that of course

is because he continues lying. Truly, he can’t say why…


‘Signora Contessa, I’ve toyed with these mysteries. I confess I have

not properly credited, revered…yes, revered, I think I ought to say, the…

the antiquity. The Folly is not so holy a place as the Castello dei Banditi.

I come, they have told you, your companions,

or you suspect as much, to beg a refuge for…perhaps

For a newly banished one. Or two…

Two, I should say, though I don’t know what Fiona will do.’




Castello dei Banditi

Pencil drawing of man waiting for boat on quay
Until the Last’s Returning















(2019, Stephanie Foster)




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