Empty shells

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 A bird flew north over Italy
Over Naples’ volcanic home
Which worshipped Maradona in his prime
Flew over Lazio and the Olimpico
Climbed up its high ellipse
Heading for the evening sun
On her distant seven hills
Then followed the Arno
Sought out the delicate drooping flower of Fiorentina
Wilting now
A tangible absence
So much tumbleweed.

2 Leave a comment on verse 2 0 The bird flew on and saw,
North of there, charades behind closed doors
Unspeakable masques and bergamasques,
Venezia and Udinese
Donning the plague doctor’s mask
Playing inside an echoing shell
Doors closed, distances kept,
Life on hold



Before football in Italy was brought to a halt, they played a few Serie A games behind closed doors. My poem imagines a bird flying northward up the Italian peninsula, looking down on the deserted stadia. The macabre image of people at the Venice Carnival masked balls donning the plague doctor’s mask was hard for me to forget, and the image finds its way into the closing lines. Stay safe everyone.

Source: https://footballpoets.org/poems/empty-shells/