The Pegasus Prize
Winter 2013
Libby Bernardin

How the Painter Giovanni Signorini Renders Celebration As the People Gather on the Ponte alla Carraia in Florence

On the Feast Day of John the Baptist,
fireworks blister the night.

The Baptist who roamed the rugged hills
of some Judean place—His celebration the fire
of repentance, harbinger of the Spirit

in his rough cloth, maybe a camel’s pelt belted
to hold his beastly strength, his itinerant ways.
Embers is what Signorini has given

driving away the ennui of the people.
He gathers them around the fires
to watch the gilded colors glow.

See how the light reflects on their upturned faces,
on the water under the 19th Century fishing boats
on the Italian facades lining the River Arno.

Sparks of white light in the night reach
for the quarter moon, and the people,
breath held, know what has touched them.

They know it is deep and true.
These flames, this spirit, this fire inside.
©2013 Libby Bernardin