"The Battle of Culloden" by David Morier, 1746.‘Culloden Moor’ and Other Poetry by Alessio Zanelli The Society November 4, 2016 Beauty, Culture, Poetry 6 Comments Culloden Moor At last they met. No sound. Arrays deployed. It was the perfect day—no haze, no shine. Long minutes lapsed before the bagpipes trilled. By noon it all ran smooth. Forlorn and void. No banner waved. No circle stood. No line. With peace and level smoke the field was filled. first published in Poetry Salzburg Review (Austria) Shimmer Dazzled, dazed, remote ashore, crests increase as Mistral falls. Ancient names of winds resound, sunken wrecks emerge and sail. Watery pupils rove at sea, sundown-shimmer swept away. Boyhood days flash back to stay, present ones run on then flee. Pictures mingle turning pale, some stand out and hang around: children, sand tracks, cyclist balls*, just like forty years before. first published in Italian Americana (USA) *”cyclist balls” is an Italian beach game: children shape tracks on the sand and throw plastic balls (the size of golf balls) along them, to imitate a cycling race. Seafarer In the Wake Of Columbus They have been teaching me all that it takes to stand the ride, go far and make it worth the strain and pain of often being alone since when I was a toddling feeble child, before I even learned to say my name. No special skills but open-mindedness, then wisdom, brawn and hunger most of all I should have always brought along with me wherever I would later find myself: across dry land, at sea, above the clouds. A boy adrift in tales of any kind, I fell in love with depths of earth and space, devouring books by London, Verne and Clarke, afraid that water may have stayed a dream, for early nightmares can be hardly killed. Such fear turned out to be completely wrong and soon I mastered tempests, whirls and streams, as sure as I’d been taming peaks and stars, aware of how real life can merge with dreams until a day—a man—it all cleared up, and I could easily tell the two apart: undoubtful, reckless, restless, smart, secure. Meanwhile I had embraced new ways to try to conquer freedom looking for some place, to understand the how and when and why, by turning from the grandly vast or far to what is hugely small and inly close. My latest heroes Heisenberg and Bohr had flung me through uncertainty and chance, my novel trips had scattered me among transparent leptons matching colored quarks, elusive bosons, steadfast fermions, strings, then deeper in and out till back to start: Big Bang, inflation, cooling down, collapse? Lemaître, Friedmann, Bondi, Penrose, Guth. So long a journey just to go nowhere, to come full circle time and time again, as nothing is the way I thought it was! I now realize that every quest is vain, there’s none to blindly trust or give in to, but each and all to probe and sample from. If born to voyage, what I’m left to choose is only by which means, and never where, for what, how long or in how many stops. In all these years I’ve walked, I’ve run, I’ve climbed, I’ve flown on airplanes, rockets, astral arks, but first and foremost I have crossed the seas. I’ve been commander, sailor, deck boy, slave, from port to port around the globe and back, then further off, on every kind of ship. And since nobody can be really free, for either dice or given laws do rule, on top of foamy crests I want to be, forever over such unboundedness: unmarked and level, absolutely plain. I’ve had enough of roads and charted routes, of flying paths as well as mental ones, of all that’s certain, proven, set and safe. I want to sail, reach out, explore, get lost, my eyes already searching for beyond. Just like Columbus did—no less, no more. first published in New Contrast (South Africa) Alessio Zanelli is an Italian poet who writes in English and whose work has appeared in about 150 journals from 13 countries. He has published 4 full collections to date, most recently Over Misty Plains (Indigo Dreams, UK, 2012). Views expressed by individual poets and writers on this website and by commenters do not represent the views of the entire Society. The comments section on regular posts is meant to be a place for civil and fruitful discussion. Pseudonyms are discouraged. The individual poet or writer featured in a post has the ability to remove any or all comments by emailing submissions@ classicalpoets.org with the details and under the subject title “Remove Comment.” Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) Related 6 Responses Michael Dashiell November 4, 2016 i like the leading poem, excellently written. If I recall accurately, it was used by Keats as a rhyme scheme in a larger stanza. I’ve it this way too, but not separately. Do you know it’s literary name? Reply Alessio August 25, 2017 Sorry for the delay, I think the pattern ABC ABC (DEF DEF …) has been widely used in poetry, but as far as I know it doesn’t have a particular name. Thank you for your kind remark. Alessio Zanelli Reply Ruth Asch November 5, 2016 These three poems have a remarkable common thread – they are all about the inner space, the recollective spirit, especially at that point where it comes in contact with the most wild and vivid moments of physical or intellectual life. The first poem treats of a battle, yet all its descriptors are tranquil: even the bagpipes known for their raucous cry, ‘trill’ here. We have two stanzas, two scenes, of calm – yet what a difference between them! The one full of readiness, anticipation, self-possession, even hope; the second a desolation. Physically the mood is identical, spiritually nothing could be more different. In the next poem we see, with the eyes of both the body and mind, colourful, shifting memories and associations of a man gazing out to sea; a dramatic conflux of shipwrecks, sea-spray and toys – all gathered in the nostalgic musing of a quiet man. ‘Columbus’ leads one into slight confusion since the eponymous character is not its protagonist and does not appear until the end; but meanwhile one journeys with the speaker a hundred journeys, around the globe and around the mental sphere mapped out by intellectual explorers of the centuries. It is a vast scope and even ventures into the minutiae of existence, the particles which make up our being – yet in the end, though an endless freedom to journey is the speaker’s choice, this explorer’s spirit makes that choice in a moment of recollection, of self-knowledge, of detached consideration and distinction from the wild journeys which are possible, but never in themselves satisfactory, in this world. An intriguing, invigorating, thought provoking trio which I am glad to have read. Reply Alessio August 25, 2017 After such a huge delay in responding, I can only thank you for your insightful remarks about my poems. They’re all formal without any break in the chosen patterns, so it took me some time to come up with their definitive versions, especially the long one, but my favorite is “Culloden Moor”. Alessio Zanelli Reply James Sale November 7, 2016 Very powerful poems; great sense of form; and a concision that makes the ideas all the more telling. Well done – wonderful stuff. Reply Alessio August 25, 2017 I saw your comment only now (blame on me…), thank you for your appreciation. Alessio Zanelli Reply Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.