Donna Pucciani – Four Poems


First Night, Capodarco

Dinner at the country house
of Guido and Floriana,
down a serpentine road in Le Marche,
a graveled path dipping into the valley.

Fresh cod and sole, headless
and silvery, on each plate,
Boiled chicory from the hillside,
tossed in oil from the olive grove,
roasted red peppers in turn.

For dessert, tangerines from Puglia,
Sicilian oranges, and a cake
topped with pine nuts, from Louanna.

The olive trees have had
three bad years, but tonight,
we celebrate the small harvest
of time and space, Bergamo and Chicago.
Tomorrow, we’ll have wild rabbit
and lettuces.

Time Change

Capodarco, Italy

The clocks banish daytime
for another hour. Floriana
boils cabbage and potatoes
for tonight’s dinner.

No internet here in the old
farmhouse. We watch night
cover a meadow full of sheep.
We rescue a baby gecko
from the bedroom wall,
drop it outside.

We leaf through old newspapers,
wander the tiled floors, watch ibis
dive from sky to pasture to pick
fleas off the sheep. We examine
the stunted olive trees, listen
for the sound of bees.

We talk of grammar
in two languages: the same
word for “ever” and “never.”
Autumn is restless
as chicory webbing the hill.
Tomorrow, the sheep will be
in another meadow.


Capodarco, Italy

Floriana gives us honey
from the hives on the hill,
heavy with wax and its own

We have not yet seen the bees,
only the hands that gather
the gold into a jar, an ochre

White Robes

Two bathrobes near the shower
hang on hooks like ghosts.

They discuss the whispered secrets
of water, of flesh.

Hidden intimacies
evaporate between them

like steam,
like bubbles.


Author’s Statement on Beauty

Years ago, I spent the better part of my senior year in college ruminating on the question of “beauty” in my aesthetics class. At the time, I loved wrangling over questions of art vs. craft, beauty vs. ugliness, subjectivity vs. objectivity, and the differences and similarities among the various art forms. The final exam was to write a personal philosophy of aesthetics, referring to the various philosophers we had read during the course. I pulled an “A” in the class, but have no idea what I wrote.

As a humanities major in grad school with a concentration in music, my coursework entailed the study of the arts and their historical and global development. Though I loved that intellectual challenge, I ultimately became far more interested in the making of art, as a pianist, accompanist, and flutist with local orchestras and chamber groups. Two degrees later, I still had not arrived at a “definition” of beauty, in the arts or otherwise. My eventual career as an English teacher drew me further into the vortex of beauty as I began to write poetry.

I am still more intrigued with the making of “beauty” than defining it. I only know that music and poetry have given my life meaning, often in the midst of despair and chaos. I hope that my personal pursuit of beauty through various creative endeavors allows me to share that search for meaning with others.


Donna Pucciani, a Chicago-based writer, has published poetry on four continents. Her work has been translated into Chinese, Japanese, Italian and German. Her awards include those from National Federation of State Poetry Societies and the Illinois Arts Council. Her most recent book of poems is Edges. More at: