Carole Weinstein Poetry Prize
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High Above Terracina

After the long climb past the gnawed-bone temple
in its ugly hole, past the musical olive grove
where the nymphs teased us, tracked us, snickering,
past the jaunty shrine to a young man's love of speed
and his red Vespa, at the top: massive foundations
of the Temple of Jove and a view to make one

weep: teal and gold and lilac and cerulean, sapphire,
topaz, indigo, turquoise, violet and emerald, pistachio,
pea- and bottle-greens: the whole Tyrrhenian Sea and
late sun and cypress and eucalyptus and that sweet
curve of the shore and somewhere down there a rank,
leathery elephant under a fig tree: a peacock pageant
of a landscape, sight the steady Roman soul, even
Horace's, could never feel the way we can: post-
Romantic, willfully sentimental. We make out

the perfect order of our hotel's rectangle of light
brown beach, chairs and bright umbrellas. So who's
this idiot with his back to the view wrangling with
a cell phone, every free finger punching holes
in the air? Sì, sì, sì, he cries, sì, sì! Why this deep,
sudden, salty kiss, all breasts and dizziness
on the crumbling cliff edge? Because nobody
on earth knows where we are? Nobody?

By Ron Smith
Recipient of the 2005 Carole Weinstein Poetry Prize

Reprinted by permission of Louisiana State University Press
from Moon Road: Poems 1986-2005 by Ron Smith.
Copyright © 2007 by Ron Smith.

© 2006 Carole Weinstein. All rights reserved.