SOL 2016 Day 17: Stop and Look Around You

Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life March Challenge 2016
This March, more than 300 teachers have committed to daily writing. If you’d like to read more “slices” (from other teachers and even students), visit:

When I was in Rome last summer, I wondered if Romans paid attention to the beautiful monuments and ruins they lived among. Or, with the pressures of daily life, did the Coliseum or Forum start blend in to the background for them? Could the Italians ignore the beauty surrounding them?

Today I had a doctor's appointment in San Francisco, and got there early. After parking my car, I decided to take a walk for a few blocks - actually the few level blocks before the street plunged down one of San Francisco's famous hills to the Bay.  

In that respect, San Francisco is like Rome: lots of walking up and down steep hills, although I think San Francisco's hills are steeper. The sidewalk I was walking on actually turns to steps to walk down. 

It was a glorious, sunny day, and for once I didn't ignore the beauty around me. Maybe it's the Slice of Life Challenge, but today I stopped and took in the view. There before me spread the water of the bay dotted with sailboats. The hills of Marin County rose in the distance. Who couldn't love living here?

So, I've decided that Romans must have those moments as well. There must be a day when a woman walking to her doctor's office comes up short when she rounds a corner, and the Coliseum rises up in all its majesty before her. How could she not?

SOL 2016 Day 1 - Poem for Tania: Piazza della Rotunda

Today I begin the Slice of Life March Challenge, writing and posting every day this month. Wish me luck.

During the summer of 2015, my poet friend Tania Pryputniewicz of Feral Mom, Feral Writer began a poetry challenge with me. She began with giving me the task of writing a poem using the letter Z, one of my favorite letters for obvious reasons. Then I sent her a prompt of my own: write about a resting place. At the time, I was at rest on an Italian vacation, so relaxation was on my mind. It took a few months but, as requested, she finally wrote a poem. Tania's lovely poem, Meditation Garden, Encinitas inspired me, but in a way I didn't expect. Somehow it made my thoughts turn to Italy again.

One of my favorite places in the whole world (or at least the parts I've been to) is the Piazza della Rotunda in Rome.  On every visit to that city, no matter how short, I always make my way there to sit at a table at the same cafe and dream I'm Roman. Here's poem about a slice of the life in that beautiful place.

Tania, now it's your turn to send me another challenge. You said you had a good idea for me. Send it my way.

Piazza della Rotunda

Pantheon cool, serene,
oldest of the buildings 
cradling the body
of this small piazza.
Tourists stream past
my café table under 
its orange umbrella,
orange drink in my hand.
We have all emerged
from our heat-addled naps.
Stroller wheels rattle
over cobblestones,
nuns in white habits
eat gelato scooped
from the corner stand.
Sunburned shoulders
peeking from skimpy tank tops,
girls huddle on fountain steps,
giggle and bubble
like the water behind them.
Their friend snaps photos,
Egyptian obelisk
their solemn backdrop.
Small brown men,
from the Phillipines
or Indonesia perhaps,
shoot shiny
toys into the air,
hoping one will land
near a child’s foot.
She might pick it up
and beg to keep it.
We all long 
for bright tidings
to soar over our heads
like birds, like stars
into Rome’s
blue-falling night.

Related Links:
Respective poems from the first challenge: 
Write a poem using the letter Z:
Firenze Poem, For Tania from Italy by Lisa Rizzo
21 Zs for Lisa: Omen Hunting in Yo El Rey Roasting by Tania Pryputniewicz