Friends, I am a mother forlorn.
On Monday, we took my 16-year-old son to BWI airport, left him in the care of his history teacher and campus minister, and said goodbye. He and ten of his school mates are spending the week in Italy.
|I lamented to my husband, as we left the airport, "He's going halfway around the world." Which Mr. S scoffed at. We sent the teen on this trip willingly. It's all part of my cunning plan to have him study abroad in college, so I can go visit him.
I have never been to Italy. It's a strange thing to send your child to a place that you have never been, especially when it's somewhere exotic like Venice, Florence and Rome.
He called when the plane landed at 4 AM. (This is the moment when Mr. S said, a little wistfully, "He's halfway across the world!" Didn't I just...?)
He texts once a day. He hasn't eaten pizza yet, but the food is good. There will be no postcards coming in the mail because Italian post is notoriously slow. The best part of Venice was the gardens. Grandpa ("Poppy") is cool for sending the kid some spending money, thanks. And that's about it.
I am keeping busy and trying not go about my day sighing. What does a sigh that combines envy of a child who you are also missing sound like? Who knows? But let's ask someone a little more verbose than my son tell us about Venice and the Bridge of Sighs. Take it away, Lord B.
Childe Harold's Pilgrimage: Canto the Fourth
by George Gordon Byron
I stood in Venice, on the Bridge of Sighs;
A palace and a prison on each hand:
I saw from out the wave her structures rise
As from the stroke of the enchanter's wand:
A thousand years their cloudy wings expand
Around me, and a dying Glory smiles
O'er the far times, when many a subject land
Look'd to the winged Lion's marble piles,
Where Venice sate in state, thron'd on her hundred isles!
She looks a sea Cybele, fresh from ocean,
Rising with her tiara of proud towers
At airy distance, with majestic motion,
A ruler of the waters and their powers:
And such she was; her daughters had their dowers
From spoils of nations, and the exhaustless East
Pour'd in her lap all gems in sparkling showers.
In purple was she rob'd, and of her feast
Monarchs partook, and deem'd their dignity increas'd.
In Venice Tasso's echoes are no more,
And silent rows the songless gondolier;
Her palaces are crumbling to the shore,
And music meets not always now the ear:
Those days are gone--but Beauty still is here.
States fall, arts fade--but Nature doth not die,
Nor yet forget how Venice once was dear,
The pleasant place of all festivity,
The revel of the earth, the masque of Italy!
Lord Byron in Albanian Dress, by Thomas Phillips --
Here is some history about the Bridge of Sighs. This is where prisoners glimpsed their last view of gorgeous Venice before they went in the clinker.
And there's more history at this site.
I am a big fan of Mr. Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know. His home, Newstead Abbey, is near the Nottingham village where my mother grew up. The beautiful gardens of the abbey were our go-to place for summer picnics with my grandmother when I was a little girl.
And hooray! I am not rob'd completely of seeing my son. The Childe has been spotted in Venice. This is a photo posted by another student on the tour.
As Lord Byron says, may the music meet you on this Poetry Friday. Our host is Michelle at "Today's Little Ditty." Thanks, Michelle.