Stanley Barkan


Even when
the summer sun
hides behind
a black cloud
or falls into the Egadi isles
of Levanzo & Favignana,
large & red,
as if it were the end
of the first day,
the birth of the earth.
Even after,
the light seems to linger,
as if the Sicilian earth
were a source of light itself,
competing with moon & stars.

Even when
the mouth is parched
the stomach empty,
the sheer radiant splendor
of Sicilian light
suffuses the spirit.

For a time
no candle, lamp,
or hearthfire
is needed
in or outside
the casuzze
of the people
of the sun.

They themselves
are lucence
emitting rays
that light the way
between them,
the olive groves,
the neat rows
of vineyards,
the fields of melons,
the almond trees,
branches heavy
with green pods
bursting with
the seeds
of Sicilian light.

casuzze -- huts where the farmer would rest during the harvesting.

28 May 2000, Gibellina, Sicily

Stanley H. Barkan is the editor/publisher of the Cross-Cultural Review of World Literature & Art in Sound, Print, and Motion. He is the author of several books of poetry--The American Hototogisu (1974), The Blacklines Scrawl (1976), Due poeti americani (1994, English-Italian edition, with Nat Scammacca, translated by Enzo Bonventre), O Jerusalem (1996, a photo-poetry collection with Ron Agam, in celebration of the 3000th anniversary of Jerusalem, exhibited at New York City Hall's Tweed Gallery, sponsored by the Office of Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani), Under the Apple Tree / Pod jablonia (1998, English-Polish edition, translated by Adam Szyper), and, his latest, Bubbemeises & Babbaluci (2000, English-Italian edition, translated by Nat & Nina Scammacca). In 1991, he was honored as New York City Poetry Teacher of the Year by the Board of Education and Poets House, and, in 1996, the Small Press Center in New York presented him with a bust of Benjamin Franklin as winner of the Seventh Poor Richards Award "for 25 years of high quality publishing [that] has brought the world closer together through literature." "Sicilian Light" is from his forthcoming English-Sicilian collection, Pāssuli cu mčnnuli / Raisins with Almonds, translated by Marco Scalabrino.


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