Last Lunch in Nonza

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 For the nonce we visited Nonza,
And swapping shirts with Shakespeare,
We sat in the leafy square of Nonza,
With Port Vale fans Barry, Janet and Matt,
High up in this Corsican dreamland village
Of pastel painted houses on a mountainside,
With bougainvillea tumbling over doorways
And with open shutters staring at a turquoise sea;
And Alice and me sat in the square of Nonza,
And watched a young Italian man
Advance slowly across this shaded dignified square,
Playing keepy-uppy with a foam filled tennis ball –
Everybody watched, hypnotised and mesmerised
By the sight of this indeliberate street theatre
And innocent youthful exhuberance;
He lost the ball to a tired old dog,
Sleeping beneath the chestnut tree,
But the dog returned it with a heavy paw,
While Saint Julia and Saint Erasme kept critical vigil
In the church on the other side of the square,
Where Saint Roche held aloft his cloak,
Pointing at the stigmata on his thigh,
The consequence of some over the top
Ecclesiastical tackle or remonstrance.
Oblivious of the gaze of these icons,
The Italian headed the ball carefully
A symbolically disciplined 12 times,
But his luck deserted him on the 13th,
And it was time for his last lunch in Nonza.
The dropped ball rolled slowly across the square to me,
And I returned it with a studiedly accurate cross,
And in return he passed his camera to me –
Would I photograph him, his friend and girlfriend?
On a bench in the shaded square of Nonza?
I placed the ball in front of them,
They laughed and I pressed the shutter,
And while I captured the moment,
The blood still tried to flow from the wound
Of St. Paddy Roche, patron saint of goalkeepers.
But, moment and picture taken,
The Italian put the ball in his pocket,
And the three friends climbed the steps to the church;
Everything went quiet and reverted back to normalcy,
The Church reclaimed its own,
And the Last Lunch became the Last Supper.


Lingering Corsican holiday memories.

Source: https://footballpoets.org/poems/last-lunch-in-nonza/