First View of the Ponte Vecchio

Joan Leotta

USA

I watched a stream 
of humans from both banks
flow toward its golden presence.
Once on the bridge, my
simple joy became
watching others stroll.
More than an Arno crossing,
Ponte Vecchio is itself a destination.
While in Florence, I returned to
Ponte Vecchio again and again—
at dawn, at sunset, and on my
last day, at mid-morning when all
shops were open.
 
With each step, I took, I felt 
the presence of past giants of the arts
who had stood, bartered in shops,
laughed with friends, 
enjoyed the view of the Arno
and of the people. Ordinary pursuits
by extraordinary people.
Selecting one shop
I spent my saved-up 1967 dollars
on a cameo pendant whereon
danced one of the figures 
from Botticelli’s Rites of Spring.
In my head, Dante smiled approval.

Joan Leotta is a Guest Contributor for Panorama.