Poem

Flame

Frederick Seidel

The honey, the humming of a million bees,
In the middle of Florence pining for Paris;
The whining trembling the cars and trucks hum
Crossing the metal matting of Brooklyn Bridge
When you stand below it on the Brooklyn side—
High above you, the harp, the cathedral, the hive—
In the middle of Florence. Florence in flames.
Like waking from a fever ... it is evening.
Fireflies breathe in the gardens on Bellosguardo.
And then the moon steps from the cypresses and 
A wave of feeling breaks, phosphorescent—
Moonlight, a wave hushing on a beach.
In the dark, a flame goes out. And then
The afterimage of a flame goes out. 

Love what you've read? Subscribe to The Paris Review.