Agrigento, Sicily

Ode to Sicily

Kevin Clement|April 21, 2011|Blog Post

By Kevin Clement (with apologies to Robert Service)

There are strange things done in the Med’s warm sun
And one of those was our trip
Round Sicily Isle, and in highest style
On the Clipper Odyssey ship.

To Malta we came on various planes,
In a stupor induced by jet lag,
And made prayers to Zeus, hoping that was of use,
That we’d arrive with all of our bags.

Amidst towering blooms we toured the ruins
Of people whose time is now mythic.
They had to build homes of big giant stones—
It’s not easy to be megalithic.

You couldn’t fault a Knight of old Malta,
When you heard about wars and disasters,
For living in castles despite all the hassles,
And kissing up to a guy called Grand Master.

On Sicily’s coast, we got the most
Warm welcome in old Licata.
We all found a seat, and soon sailed our fleet
Of buses: a landlocked regatta.

And so we went to old Agrigento
At the winery we tried a smidge.
And then had to ponder why in the thunder
The Valley of Temples is a ridge.

At Selinunte, all the old ruins, they
Gave us a terrible thirst.
But Marsala wine, sweet and refined
Filled us up. I thought some would burst.

Old ruin or town? The choice all came down
To this: Erice or Segesta?
Including Monreale made a great, but a long, day
And really cut into siesta.

I must put in a plug for a walk that I loved
And next time you’re there I’d suggest a
Couple of hours stroll through the flowers
Down the hill twixt the ruins of Segesta.
…just watch out for the orchid-eating dogs.

I did double-takes at Palermo’s mosaics
On the ceilings all over on top o’ ya;
My respect grew; because all that I knew
Was Palermo was home of the mafia.

We made a safari into Lipari.
The tour was most pedagogical.
Of the whole town, the place most renowned
Was the Museum Archae-ological.

In the Aeolian Isles, you can see for miles
Explosions from Stromboli’s peak.
The way the flames spurt, and the lava squirts,
You’d think the damn thing sprang a leak.

To climb Mt Etna, you can just betcha
You need clothes, and lots of endurance.
The tram we enjoyed is often destroyed…
Must be tough to renew their insurance.

Until Taormina, I’d never seen a
Town up on such a high perch.
Nor a theatre with a view any greater…
Oh yes, and another church.

Blessings upon ya, o town of Catania—
We gasped as your wonders unfurled:
The site Morgantina; Piazza Armerina;
But the best was the bikini girls.

There is no excuse to miss Syracuse
With its Archaeological Area.
The sacrifice altar could make your step falter,
But the catacombs are even scarier.

And so back to Valetta, and we cannot let our-
Selves give in to any temptation
To pause or retreat, or we mightn’t complete
Our Sicilian circum-navigation.

Malta to Messina, all points in betweena,
Marsala, Mt Etna, Stromboli—
All came to be in our recipe
And made a pastry as sweet as cannoli.

There are strange things done in the Med’s warm sun
And Sicily’s a wild destination
I think you can see, when you get home you’ll need
A vacation from your vacation.

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