“O Love, my torments do
beseech of thee
Mercy in deadly wise,
As far as in me lies,
Let me death’s gladness
And to Pistoia let my soul return”

–Cino da Pistoia, friend of Dante*

City of bells, keeper of secrets,
cobblestoned passageways
leading back to forgotten centuries.

Walking from Convento di Giaccherino—
air feather soft,
gardens abloom,

Along the steep orchard path
on the Way of the Cross—
past fourteen tabernacles renewed in 1630.

This way, the altars call,
this way to heaven as chimes toll from towers below,
belfries on every corner of every block

Ring out the hours,
as I peer through rusted keyholes
revealing courtyards, labyrinths, frescoed vaults.

Church candles flicker
above ancient, echoing tiles—
prayers flutter skyward on swallow’s wings.

Hope and longing rise
above green-shuttered windows, red tiled roofs,
Romanesque Duomo.

City of artists, priests,
poets, princes, creators—
builders, planters, teachers.

From the convent hill,
Pistoia smiles—finer than Firenze
shimmering in the distance—

Fortressed, sun gilded
a tapestry
of the ages.

City of bells,
city of dreams.


*An anthology of Italian poems 13th-19th century selected & translated by Lorna de Lucchi, 1922

Gina Williams