Ankles

In which we Rome around (IV)

Rome 17

On a modern-day teenage gladiator at the Colosseum, I salute her.

Cocooned in a padded jacket and still freezing, I traverse the old

Oval. My wind-teared and sun-squinted eyes

Latch on (in horror) to bare ankles accompanied by a sullen scowl.

‘Oh darling, I told you that you’d need a coat!’ The not-

So-

Subtle maternal ring of ‘I told you so’

Exacerbates the scowl.

“Um,” comes the response,

Mumbled through chattering teeth.

Filigree

In which we Rome around (III)

On Castel Sant’Angelo and its contents.

Chest number four stands

As tall as tiptoed me, with

Sturdy stained panels warding off

Treasure-seeking fingers.

Elsewhere

Lies the worn steel

Dance of a sword hilt,

Accompanied by a polite sphere of cream filigree that

Nestles quietly against the pitch barrel of a pistol.

Generation after generation made this

Edifice their own, building into,

Layering

Over, growing with.

Curlicues

In which we Rome around (II)

A poem written for the Vatican City, in all its ornate glory.

Vast quantities of g(u)ilt

At your service, Mr Pope, sir.

There’s no such thing as too much

Icing (particularly the fecund floral

Curlicue ceilinged-variety),

And we’ve got a truckload of figleaves at

No extra cost – the boys have their


Chisels at the ready.

It’ll pay for itself, sir, don’t you worry,

They’ll be lining up to see

Yon naked gents, just you wait.