The Sounding Cataract Haunts Me Like a Passion

What do you do when diluvian quantities of rain fall on our valley of Lima overnight?

When the stream at Refubbri would have almost burst its banks if it wasn’t for the good re-channelling work done by the comune last year?

When the Ponte Della Maddalena just shows how its eight-hundred-year old construction can still withstand everything nature throws at it

One can always seek refuge in one’s amateur dramatic group of course down at Bagni di Lucca’s parish hall. With like-minded people and amenable company one always feels better.

We rehearsed our Christmas play and also indulged in something I hadn’t done since I was a kid at the Horniman museum – doing papier maché masks and props for our play.

There was a fab cake to eat too…


Afterwards there was shopping to do and then a return to Bagni Di Lucca to see Luca and Rebecca’s latest exhibition.

It’s a selection of Luca’s poems, beautifully written and nobly framed.

Here’s one of them entitled ‘Tosca’.


(My Translation follows)


From a small side of the world

I observe you, enchanted and devoted, dreaming and alive.

For the delight of my eyes for the fire of my senses

For the rust of the world placed on my heart.

I would like to break every limit, pass through every gate

and find you charmed and fascinating, making your entrance,

my queen, within this violent and rebellious blood.

Breathe your breath, sweet thoughts

your perfumed flesh,

and tell the world that I was waiting for you like a sublime music

never before written.


Prose is linear to be read from the beginning to the end, to eke out the plot, to see how things finally finish up.

Poems, on the other hand are a sort of secular prayer, they are there to mediate upon: to read and re-read.

It’s the difference between reading a comic and gazing at a picture. If a painting is mute words, then surely a poem is a word painting?

Luca of Shelley House has an incredibly wide range of experience in his poems. But what enhances them is his superb lyricism and his deep emotion recollected in tranquillity.

A good poem should be like a Tibetan mantra: learnt by heart and repeated in a spiritual sort of inward digest.

Even a day, in which heavenly deluges make the earth tremble, make us wish we had the skill to build an ark, where the skies frighten with their louring, almost pitch-black clouds, there are so many things that can bring joy and strength to one’s life and give hope in tomorrow’s sunshine.


3 thoughts on “The Sounding Cataract Haunts Me Like a Passion

  1. This is the time also that one wishes that maybe it is not such a good idea to be immersed in Nature and that maybe that cement clad entombed earth is somehow at least a smidgen safer but lo I have just heard dreadful reports about Lucca Pisa Agrigento the Arno and Florence are once more on red alert. Lately it has been one downpour after another throughout Europe some sort of Monsoon weather. Seems that there are major weather shifts happening in our world total impossiible imbalances with impending inevitable and total instability. Do you have that sinking feeling too much build maybe on unsuitable terrain bringing us down maybe we do really need to build at Ark just in case!

  2. Pingback: Bagni di Lucca’s ‘Shelley House’ is No More – From London to Longoio (and Lucca and Beyond) Part Three

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