Issue 3: Robert Rehder

The old town of Porto Maurizio

The old town of Porto Maurizio is stacked

On its hill—

Emotion is never exactly the same—

Building upon building, inconclusively,

And not

Like music finding its way—

Dome, roof, stairs, carruggio, loggia,


The unity is contingent.

Darwin doesn’t use the word, evolution

Anywhere in

The Origin of Species (1859).

The Genoese demolished the fortifications

And took

The Porto Marino in 1641—lock, stock,

And three barrel-vaults and the black stone

From Finale—

Back to Genoa, where it is today.

New anger remembers the old—and love,

The same.

The door of the gate between the old walls

And the new disappeared long ago.

The iron hinges 

Are still embedded in the weathered stone.

Robert Rehder published two books of poems, The Compromises Will Be Different (Carcanet / Sheep Meadow, 1995) and First Things When (Carcanet, January 2009, a Poetry Book Society Recommendation). He is the author of King Lear, Wordsworth and the Beginnings of Modern Poetry (1981), The Poetry of Wallace Stevens (1987), and Stevens, Williams, Crane and the Motive for Metaphor (2004). He died on 6 April 2009 aged 74.

Copyright © 2009 by Robert Rehder, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of Copyright law. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author.