Poem 19 – Syracuse Bay

Out beyond the shutters one can see a hint of blue,
Throw them open and wake, for it is morning!
And there, though the sun is high
None move across the shining water –
The pavement of the dock lies dry
Not a damp footstep on the stones.
’tis early day, and a thousand homes
Lie sleeping by Syracuse Bay.

Now below the balconies the sailors walk the streets
Strolling down the seaside as their ships sway in the breeze
And cooling winds join the swaggering boatmen
Joining them and their crews.
Watch the first boat leave the shore
For then it is the day,
And another one follows, and then one more
Out to the waves of Syracuse Bay.

See, the sun has reached its peak and burns the dusty streets
As people from all nations throng around
And tourists climb the steep hillside
On pilgrimage to the ancient city.
But off the shore, from far and wide,
In milk white boats one can see
There for the day, all ancient Italy
Bathes in the waters of Syracuse Bay.

The sun is sinking and yet grows hotter still
Retreat ye men, to the shadows!
But still a few plod ponderously
Watched by the basking dogs.
They’re watched from many balconies
As they slowly wither and fade
They weaken and seek the cooling shade
Of the trees by Syracuse Bay.

Now the sun has vanished, though there’s still a trace of light
Now all of the people fill the streets!
Along the waters of the port and on the winding roads
They talk and laugh beneath the cooling sky.
Now the blazing sun has gone they cast of heavy loads
And listen to a lone accordion play.
For the sun has gone, and another day
Has passed by Syracuse Bay.

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