Friday, April 16, 2010

Two impressions of religion in Italy

I wouldn't have chosen this next poem, but I visited this area of Italy where the massacre occurred. In this place is where John Taylor, and later Ezra Taft Benson, dedicated Italy for missionary work, as well. I must say that my lifetime's experience with the Pope (and several lifetimes before mine) has been nothing like this "triple Tyrant" that Milton describes. Some things have certainly changed for the better.

On the Late Massacre in Piedmont

Avenge, O Lord, thy slaughtered Saints, whose bones
  Lie scattered on the Alpine mountains cold;
  Even them who kept thy truth so pure of old,
When all our fathers worshiped stocks and stones,
Forget not: in thy book record their groans
  Who were thy sheep, and in their ancient fold
  Slain by the bloody Piemontese, that rolled
Mother with infant down the rocks. Their moans
The vales redoubled to the hills, and they
  To heaven. Their martyred blood and ashes sow
O’er all the Italian fields, where still doth sway
  The triple Tyrant; that from these may grow
A hundredfold, who having learnt thy way,
  Early may fly the Babylonian woe.

        John Milton 1608-1674

I wrote this next poem as I was leaving Italy, or shortly after I left. I may now question the accuracy of a couple of lines, but it is true to how I felt, and I like the sounds and pictures.

No One Will Ever Know

I lost my mind.
Or more truly, the world did.
How I loved, how I hoped,
How I prayed, how I groped for truth
in a foreign world.
How I lived the strangeness of every day.
How the clock ticked,
My heart beat,
My friends breathed,
And the city moved around us.
How in a place most will never hear of,
I did a work most will never know.
How I loved people that will never
make the news.
How our names will only be remembered
to our children,
But we don’t care because,
For one moment,
We knew we had a friend,
And knew that life was good and God was love.
But no one will ever know
Because the world has lost our minds
That died with us,
Still inside our heads.


  1. (Should 'stocks' be 'sticks'?) Can I be forgiven for enjoying your poetry more than Milton's?

  2. Stocks isn't a typo on my part, so I assume it's correct. I have no problem with your liking my poem better than this one of Milton's. I only like this one because of my personal ties to the setting. I don't much care for the four Milton sonnets I've read.