|Auden on Ischia, by George Daniell|
From the late 1940s to the late 1950s, W. H. Auden spent part of each year on the Island of Ischia in the Bay of Naples. When he bought a small house in Austria and left Italy, he wrote a lovely and funny poem called "Good-bye to the Mezzogiorno" in which he reflected on how he, as the child of a "potato, beer-or-whiskey / Guilt culture," never became anything more than a stranger in southern Italy.
This could be a reason
Why they take the silencers off their Vespas,
Turn their radios up to full volume,
And a minim saint can expect rockets — noise
As a counter-magic, a way of saying
Boo to the Three Sisters: "Mortal we may be,
But we are still here!"