I was right to suspect it might not take me long
to discover a new, healing measure of calm
upon my retirement to this outpost north of the city.
Over this last stretch of planing farmland west of the Tiber
before the foot of Soratte there grew, in ancient times,
a wood sacred to a goddess who on the sick took pity;
the Muses dwelt on the small yet ominous mountain
that reveals its awesome profile as one moves slowly around it;
while in the valley below, the strong brown river god
attended lazily, as he still does today, to its irrigation.
Now that I abide by them, these spirits millenarian
no longer shun me as they always, instead, had done
(to my imperfect regret) when I used to hurry by on the highway
or first came here as a tourist, hoping in a couple of days
to wistfully grasp them like flies in my fist.
My past ignorance, they seem somehow inclined to forgive,
demanding as penance for it only a personal narrative
of the events that led me finally to quit the metropolis.
To this humble task I now set my even humbler pen
in the hope that my version may be worthy of the attention
of at least one other human being on the planet.