The stream, piped under the main street,
Makes its noisy exit into the sea
But little Riomaggiore sleeps on.
The green shutters are closed. All is quiet
In the multi-coloured, bright buildings
Rising steeply up the V-shaped valley
Through narrow alleys, steps and little squares
To the two churches, their bells and, finally, the fort.
All is quiet too in the sinuous lines
Of ancient, dry-stone walled terraces,
Beautiful in the purest, most simple way,
Stepping the steeply rising terrain
From cliff's edge to high mountain ridge,
The labour of scores of thousands
Of men and women over centuries.
With what effort they were built, filled with vines,
Olives, a scattering of figs and lemons
And left as a legacy to the grateful future.
At 7 A.M. both church bells toll
Over forty times in strange syncopation
And little Riomaggiore arises:
Coffee is served in Bar Centrale;
Workers gather, sit, talk and smoke;
Garbage is collected; produce delivered;
Shopkeepers are arranging boxes of fruit
On either side of their front door.
The Take-Away Pizzerias, the restaurants,
The "Authentic Italian Pasta" shop,
And Gelataria Centrale sleep on,
As do the gift shops, the laundromat,
And "Art in Banchi", with its exquisite pottery and craft.
Soon, they too will open and little groups
Will stand noisily and happily chatting
And flocks of tourists will emerge
From the pink, blue, yellow and ochre buildings
With backpacks, cameras and poles
To walk the beautiful, steep, terraced hills
And medieval villages of the Cinque Terre.
|The stream exiting into the sea.|