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Sport 6: Autumn 1991

Bernadette Hall — As a Matter of Faith

page 112

Bernadette Hall

As a Matter of Faith

for Hugh

Travel broadens the mind, then
renders us homeless.
Like Hadrian,
the Spanish emperor of ancient Rome,
speaking better Greek than Latin
who wrote some very mediocre verse,
the worst of it on leaving: 'Oh, my
poor little cloudy puffball of a soul!'
& built the Pantheon.
The height
of the dome is equal to the diameter
of the base. So it's a ball, freefalling
in space, of air & earth & coca cola
facets underground. Celestial bodies
range around the walls & all unsmiling.
I take the facts on faith, having
never stood there,
nor in Ravenna where
a grannie clambers from a crowded bus,
waggles fat fingers behind her broad
flanks with no backward glance, shouts
'Ciao, tutti!' as if everyone cared.
Hey, that's style!
& Hadrian's lover
drowning himself in the Nile?