From Vico Pancellorum to Infinity

Summer is not just a time for sagre or festivals with an emphasis on a particular food, whether it be tordelli, farro or biroldo. It’s also a time for arts festivals!

Last Sunday we took time off from the magnificent third year Bagni di Lucca arts festival to visit Vivo Pancellorum, an ancient borgo high up on the Apennines.

There’s a local annual arts festival there mainly centred in an old oratory which is full of some delightful creations from local artists.

The styles range from naïve to abstract to portraits to landscapes. The variety is quite amazing since Vico Pancellorum is a pretty remote mountain village in one of the furthest outposts of our Comune.

Here are some examples of what we saw. I’m sure that some of you used to the area will recognize who the artists are!

Art also spreads out into the steep narrow streets of Vico.

Later in the afternoon there was a conference, held as part of the study days organized by the Michel de Montaigne Institute of Bagni di Lucca, concentrating on the history of the village since the start of the eighteenth century.

All the speakers of the conference, coordinated by director of the Bagni di Lucca section of the Istituto Storico Lucchese Bruno Micheletti, were very well prepared and the subject of statutes, laws and beliefs of a past era gave a valuable insight into what life once was like in Vico – in many respects not too different from today especially as far as the required length of dog leashes when going through a vineyard was concerned!

Unfortunately, we had to curtail our conference before the end to get back to our camera oscura poetry space where a reading was given of a selection of my poems on the earth, planets and galaxies by me and Alessandra Pettitt.

In fact, two readings were given to the background of Sergio Talenti’s intriguing film with commentary and text by him and Debora Pioli about a biological computer which has contradictory problems about redefining the concept of infinity.

In the film there was a picture of the same Vietnamese train I’d taken in February 2014 when visiting that lovely country. I’m not sure what infinity had to do with it although the train journey on the reunification line did seem to go on for ever!


Both readings were very well received. Here is just a tiny selection of what we read. The film seemed to fit rather well with them……





Gigantic cliffs stand peaked like wings of gulls

and cut through sky of indigo. Two moons

lie hung upon translucent pregnancy:

this is the planet where there is no sound.


At dusk spiced crimson rocks drum granite chords

which penetrate hard entrails of stilled earth,

bronze sands vibrate with fluent overtones,

ionosphere drops ultrasonic waves.


Here is the summit and below hot seas

of sapphire circle coastlines, solarized

and drawn towards cerise-soaked longitudes:

the night is stretched out like a waking cat.





Interstellar flowers

of climactic aureole,

a thousand descents.


Dusk’s planetary

blossoms ejaculated

in cosmic heartstrings.


White efflorescence

of nocturnal waterfalls

burns through prescient eyes.


Spectral magma flux

smothers expectant body

in evening corset.


Transcendent coming

lights up autumnal half-smiles

of tropical fire.


Unveiling eclipse

cascades Byzantine showers:

deluged covenant.


Body pounds in space

earth trembles beneath my feet:

alien spaceships land.


Humming birds hover

and suck juices of the night

in rainbow flavours.


Galaxy’s cleavage

in kaleidoscopic sheath:

choir of silver rain.










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