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Poem: "Cimaruta" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
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Poem: "Cimaruta"

This poem came out of the May 2013 Creative Jam.  It was inspired by ankewehner.  It fills the #20 Glisten slot in the Rainbowfic Moonlight list.  It has been sponsored by janetmiles.  This poem belongs to the series Fiorenza the Wisewoman.


Cimaruta


Fiorenza walks through the village
tallying up the signs of trouble --
here a cart wheel come off its axle,
there a sound horse suddenly gone lame.
The lid of a well has cracked in two
and the pieces fallen down inside;
a whole barrel of salted pork
has somehow managed to spoil.

Someone has cast malocchio  over the village;
the signs are clear, and something
will have to be done about it.

The people have their protections --
Fiorenza has taught them well --
from the costly amulets of Venetian glass
done up as cobalt eyeballs for Otoniel's family
to the mano corno  charms carved of cheap wood
for the poor shepherds who come to buy supplies
and the dried chili peppers hung above doorways.

It is not so easy to protect
every inch of the village,
but Fiorenza knows what to do
in order to sweep away the evil spell.

Before dawn she goes into her garden
to seek out the silvery-blue bushes of rue.
Carefully she cuts off a branch here, a branch there,
round leaflets that glisten with morning dew
and hold the power to end a spell.

Fiorenza plucks vervain flowers
to enhance the magic
and weaves them into the broom
that she is building.

To the tips of the rue twigs she fastens
a key to unlock the binding of the spell,
a waxing crescent for Hekate of the moon,
a sacred heart for the love of Jesus,
and a wooden fish to restore abundance.

Then Fiorenza walks through the village,
sweeping away the bad luck
and bringing in the good.

She sweeps over thresholds
and the pebbled garden paths,
between the cottages and shops,
down the streets and the crossroads,
over all the places where misfortune has struck.

She sweeps the dust of the malocchio
down to the bridge and into the river,
throwing the broom after it,
so the water may carry all to the sea
and be done with it.

When Fiorenza returns to the village,
she is stiff and sore from all the work,
her back bent like an old woman --

but there, there, the grandmothers
have done their own work and are waiting
for her with a basket packed with hot supper
and a flask of Vanna's liniment for sore muscles
whose recipe Fiorenza had yet to ferret out.

"Scopa nuova scopa bene,"
Fiorenza declares,
A new broom sweeps clean,
and so the task is done.

* * *

Notes:

Malocchio  is Italian for Evil Eye.  It is in essence a gaze attack to cast misfortune on a person or place.

Cimaruta  means rue branch, and is an Italian folk charm usually made from silver with various symbols attached to a sprig of rue.

Vervain or verbena is an herb with magical properties.

Scopa nuova scopa bene.
English translation: A new broom sweeps clean.

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7 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
marina_bonomi From: marina_bonomi Date: June 20th, 2013 06:36 am (UTC) (Link)
"...Ma scopa vecchia conosce gli angoli" ;-)

"...But the old one knows the corners"

I wonder who could have thrown malocchio over Nocciolaia and to which purpose.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: June 21st, 2013 07:21 pm (UTC) (Link)

*laugh*

>> "...Ma scopa vecchia conosce gli angoli" ;-)

"...But the old one knows the corners" <<

I like that quote; it made me laugh.

>> I wonder who could have thrown malocchio over Nocciolaia and to which purpose. <<

So far, I don't know. You could save this for the next fishbowl, which has a theme of "unlikely heroes and implausible villains."
marina_bonomi From: marina_bonomi Date: June 21st, 2013 07:28 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: *laugh*


> I like that quote; it made me laugh.>

Glad it did. :) The saying is so well known over here that completing it on hearing the first half is an automatic response.

>So far, I don't know. You could save this for the next fishbowl, which has a theme of "unlikely heroes and implausible villains.>

Oh, yes! It will be done.

Hmm, is the half-price sale still going on? I've a bit of birthday money available ;-)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: June 21st, 2013 07:40 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: *laugh*

Yes, there are two poems left. If you can't afford to buy a whole poem, you can open one for crowdfunding at the sale price of $.25 per line. The sale page is here:
http://ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com/2870432.html
marina_bonomi From: marina_bonomi Date: June 21st, 2013 07:48 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: *laugh*

Done. :)
From: technoshaman Date: July 9th, 2013 12:21 am (UTC) (Link)
Ooooh. Proverbs in Italian. And yay for a job well-done, and well-paid!
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 9th, 2013 01:06 am (UTC) (Link)

Yes...

I like using local-language quotes in series like this. I'm glad you enjoyed the poem!
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