From Taormina, I watch Mt. Etna spewing smoke and ash,
As it has for thousands of years.
The air tastes of soot;
And I can see my fingerprints on the table of the outside cafe.
And I think of Empedocles, the Greek
Who claimed a man like him
Who was a philosopher, a poet, a physician and a prince,
All wrapped into one,
Could only be reborn as a god.
Twenty-five hundred years ago,
To hasten his apotheosis,
He threw himself into the caldera of Mt. Etna,
Leaving only a sandal behind.
I stare again at the spreading clouds that block the sun,
And then return to my room
To wash his reincarnation off my hands.
While reading from a book of popular delusions,
Like that of teenagers parking on a lover's lane
Who barely escape a crazed one-handed man
Who leaves his hoot in the door handle as they speed off,
I consider the author's contention
That stories like that spread, because, at their heart,
They contain a caution about breaking societal norms;
Which makes me think of Joseph this Christmas,
And the lesson of taking a trophy bride,
Especially one already carrying another man's child,
A man he could never hope to compare with.
How he stands there amazed,
As shepherds and kings
Who all know of his predicament,
Singing songs of how great her first lover is;
And he accepts it,
Because love has made him a fool.
A retired high school English teacher from Pennsylvania, Ron Yazinski is inspired by the personalities and energies of his new hometown, Winter Garden, Florida. Initially enticed by the climate, he finds the hospitality and openness of the people who live in this marvelous little town, refreshing and rejuvenating. Ron's poems have appeared in many journals, including Strong Verse, The Edison Literary Review, Chantarelle's Notebook, Centrifugal Eye, and Pulsar. He is also the author of the chapbook, Houses: An American Zodiac, and two volumes of poetry, South of Scranton and Karamazov Poems.