H e a r t   S o n s   &   H e a r t   D a u g h t e r s   of   A l l e n   G i n s b e r g

N a p a l m   H e a l t h   S p a :   R e p o r t   2 0 1 4 :   A r c h i v e s   E d i t i o n






Padua train station

For my cousin Titi


Ten years on you pass by your own blood

As the trains halt to greetings and goodbyes,

Both of you away from your country,

Meeting in a place where the language

Is the one which neither of you speaks:

On this trip you sought a reunion.


First ten years of your life he raised you,

Fed you, scolded you, watched over you

With kind blue eyes, taught you how to know

The rhythm of the land, the right procession

For weddings and funerals, helped you

Get on the horse and instruct it to stop and go.


And here, in the Christmas chill at the station

You pass by each other twice with thumping hearts:

When he grabs your arm you arch:

Oh, God, how you have answered my prayer

To live on the side of forgetting, how his blue eyes

Flicker with pain in the chiselled stranger’s face!


We visit Giotto’s frescoes restored and unveiled

For the first time in twenty years: on one side

There is the life which leads to hell,

On the other is the life which leads to heaven

And above, Giotto blue with golden stars,

Above which the Padua sky opens grey silences

Over the piazza and the narrow streets.



[Originally published in NHS 2006, http://www.poetspath.com/napalm/nhs06/Bugen.htm.]