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Tales from the Tirol – Part 5 of 6

June 13, 2014

This is the fifth installment of Tales from the Tirol.

If you have been following this blog, you already know that I write poetry. My first poem was published professionally (yes I got a check) when I was 14 years old. I have been writing verse for well over 50 years. During the 1960s, both in high school and college, I wrote a large volume of poetry before focusing the poetry into a living as a song writing lyricist in the 1970s. I often still actually think in iambic pentameter and as such I have embraced poetry my entire life.

However, when we moved to the Tirol in 2002, I found that I needed to write in local languages to have a readership of any kind. And so I began writing poems in Italian and German as well as my native English. Our place in Italy is high in the mountains with a lot (sometimes too much) solitude; a good atmosphere for writing poetry and reflecting on the past. I did both in large measures while living in Tret. New themes were abundant in the nearby villages of my ancestors where centuries are counted out like olives from a jar.

I must digress a bit at this juncture to recount a poet’s experience in the Alps. I was writing a poem called l’Ultimo Rizzi (The Last Rizzi) and I wanted to use a phrase where one mountain cries to another, creating a river of tears in between. I knew the name of the river and one mountain, Mt. Roen, but did not know the name of the mountain on the other side of the valley. I was in my ancestral village of Cloz and was speaking to a man perhaps in his mid-eighties. A good choice, I thought, and so I asked this man the name of the mountain above his village. His reply was (I am translating here): “Hell, I have no damned idea. It’s a mountain! It’s been there forever. I don’t need to know its name!”  Being a poet, I copied down his response in Nones word for word but in the end I could not use his lines; they didn’t fit the meter. I went back to my original idea and had to talk with another three people before I received the proper answer: Mt. Ori. The stanza I came up with, when translated, is as follows:

Mt. Roen cries to Mt. Ori,

Novella’s tears flow between.

She sings her sad requiem

Down the valley pure and green.

I return from the detour. My poetry of the 1960s was that of a young man, much of it aimed squarely at the Vietnam War. Some of my verse was even used at anti-war rallies and the like even though I was and still am a staunch conservative. Other poems examined themes that seem to always settle exclusively on young minds: solitude, love, misunderstanding and the future. That was fine, but like everyone I moved on and so did my poems. The poetry that I wrote at Tret, high in the Dolomite Mountains, is the stuff of the old man, the stuff of the years of reflection. It is much like wine that has mellowedquite a bit; full bodied in need of breathing. I decided to combine the poetry from both of these times in my life to form an anthology of my poems. It wasn’t until April of 2014 that I finally released this anthology: Prescriptions from the Rhyme Doctor. The title is taken from the nickname I’ve held for many years. The cover was designed by my wife and patient editor.

Writing anti-war poetry in the 1960s and fleshing out verse in Italian a half century later are of course literally miles apart. Strange how life takes us far from the starting line to the finish and often the two are the same. It is the meter that is found in a beating heart and the ticking clock that ties the two together for all time.


This book is available on as an e-book for only $3.99. The print version is also available internationally at $9.99. You can reach me anytime at where you can also find a complete book listing and other information.

  1. La pesca era buona, ma la cattura era scadente. Felice di essere a casa. Spero che a vendere la vostra casa.


  2. Reblogged this on allenrizzi and commented:

    Part 5…


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