Italian Moonlight

Italian Moonlight After curfew: the streets are empty and silent:
moonlight lies on the town like snow
across the broken roof tops, and the bent

girders of battered walls, leans here in shadow
the pile of rubble that still holds the dead
where the bombs found them, shines through a window

that opens into nothing. Many have followed
war through several lands, and suddenly
known that all ended here. Others that had

passed uneventful years here, thoughtlessly
counting life certain in this little town
found death impartial. Grief has come to many

walking these streets and others, questioning
for meaning in this bitter sudden end.
But doubt and sorrow, now till night has gone,

some short hours are forgotten. Quiet and cold
this calm light levels all in time and space;
one year or ten thousand, new or old,

the moon still turns an unimpassioned face
on wisdom and folly, grief and happiness.

Patrick Maybin
November 1943 – March 1944.