il ricordo is a small collection of poems, short prose, collage and photos in process, arising from a short residency in Sottochiesa in the Val Taleggio, Lombardy, Italy, at NAHR: Nature Art Habitat Residency on the theme of “Rock and Stone”. It was a privilege to spend a few days there in August 2017, just after the feast of the Assumption when the buses take a holiday. I am grateful to Ilaria Mazzoleni for making this possible and for her passion for the Val Taleggio region especially its black rooves. My thanks, too, to Dan Disney and Australian Poetry for their support, and to my partner Greg Price who accompanied me and joined me on walks around Sottochiesa and surrounding areas. I hope to have a chance to explore further on another occasion.

Here is a small selection of text and images to appear in the collection:

 

il ricordo

     with via Caduti di tutte le guerre

In front of the newer of San Giovanni Battista’s two towers and facing via Papa Giovanni XXIII, who brought aggiornamento to the church, up a small rise from via Caduti di tutte le guerre is a memorial for Sottochiesa’s lost in le guerre mondiali of the twentieth century. A few names only – caduti e dispersi – are housed in the solidity of stone whose recollection is more ancient than human war. Simon asks if the valley itself, its hills and caves and curves, subverted war. Empire – Roman, Napoleonic – it seems, moved through here but did not stay so long. Except perhaps the Catholic imperium, its Madonnas assimilated into grottos. Tamed by mountains, the sanctuary lamps are enclosed in human caves – small in scale: resistance by the height and depth of place to a triumphal build. Catholicism here, says Agostino, is communal. Subeclezia; Sottochiesa; under the church; caduti; dispersi – soldati; resistenza – morti e viventi; tutti under the stone. On doorsteps and outside trattoria, young mothers are singing to their bambini.

 

Note: The name Subeclezia appears on a fifteenth century map of the Val Taleggio, the map that appears on many of the Ecomuseo signs.

Shard

Taleggio Aporia

Text and Images copyright © Anne Elvey 2017