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Drawn from stone streets,
I stumble and crash
a renaissance birthday
party. It's been
seven hundred years
since this first stone
was laid and
il Duomo de Firenze,
the cathedral of Florence,
soars high to greet its makers.

These sanctified stones
laid bare beneath the likes
of Michelangelo and da Vinci,
maestros battling for historic
bravado. Brunelleschi,
at least, lived to see
his masterpiece done.

Torchlight blazes
from alcoves high,
the square around me
seems on fire.
Baptistery, Campanile,
piazza all alight
with birthday candles
scaled to fit this occasion;
daytime comes to
this midnight hour.
People mass and
revel here.

Orchestral tuning
catches an ear,
stone façade echoing,
revealing strings
aching for release;
this party will
have music!
Rare treat, this
cathedral at night,
prayer candles over-
flowing with
ancestral wishes,
warming outstretched fingers.
A thousand voices
mingle here,
soaring ceilings dim
roar to hush.

Allowed beyond the
high altar barrier,
all tiny chapels
open to my eyes.
Reliquaries house the
hallowed bones of saints,
blessed teeth
and miraculous hair,
silvergold treasury of
divine intervention.
Inlaid sacristy hides sacred vestments,
each a heaven-assuring donation
from martyrs now dust and bone.

An atheist could feel God here.

When I retreat this edifice, I will
waltz to Morricone's
Good, Bad and Ugly,
orchestral dedication to an
Italian son. The age of history
makes me feel trifling
with my trio of decades,
insignificant when held up
to the light of
seven hundred years.

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