Romeo’s House, Verona.
[Casa di Romeo, Via Arche delle Scaligere: Historians say this was the house of Cagnolo Nogarola, a Guelph supporter, like the Capulets, Juliet's family. But according to legend and literary texts, the Monetcchi family, or the Montagues, lived here until the 14th century, and the V-shaped battlement was the 'swallow tail' symbol of the opposing faction, the Ghibellines, which Romeo's family supported.
A marble tablet on the external wall bears a quotation from Shakespeare's 'Romeo & Juliet': ".. I have lost myself; I am not here. This is not Romeo; he's some other where." (Act1,Scene1)]
At noon, we enter a park, leaving behind his house-
a private home now, though a castle, really,
whose walled, crenellated boundary allows
no trespass, queues, nor keyholes; merely
leaps of fancy for those daring to 'dream
things true' as the Bard's own hero once sighed
in costumed flesh, or as mere modern meme
of thwarted love, fated forever to elide
the world of shadows and shades of truth:
the myths, the quotes on the marble plaque
scenes staged and filmed,the'wherefore'or'forsooth',
the blur of things neither white nor black.
Having waited pointlessly like beggars at a door
we claim our alms in photos, click and pose
and leave the alley of half-lies, of legends and lore,
to turn the corner and enter the groves
of this public garden, where, beneath cultivated trees
and gazed upon from pedestals by stern
statues of upright citizens unruffled by the breeze,
we gather, as if school children led to learn
lessons of history, strict facts about the past
to shoo away the pesky pigeon flights of poetry.
Yet stretched on the grass, a strange light is cast
on me by one bent ancient tree,
whose swallow-tail boughs hold up the sky
of my dreaming, like medieval parapets
guarding the green patch where I lie
hugging my heart's defiant secrets.
It knows not to ask if he ever did exist
or live in that barred, voiceless home,
for today, I hear the wordless wind insist:
We, too, will soon be tales in times's eternal tome.
Author of Piazza Bangladesh (2014), and Calligraphy of Wet Leaves (2015), Neeman Sobhan is an Italy based fiction writer, poet, and columnist, till recently teaching English and Bengali at the University of Rome.