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by Sharmagne Leland-St.John
Why did they name a street for you?
What heroic deed did you do
to make them revere you like a saint?
Your widowed mother, Diamantina,
bore the sorrow of losing not one son,
but two, long before their time.
She should have known a warrior's spirit
roared inside of you.
You fought for liberation for your beloved Venice,
but Austria was never freedom's song.
Disappointment followed you.
In exile did you miss the silence spread along
the fields where only winds sang to you,
the sighing of the Zephyr, your silken muse.
Did you not miss the purple and dark red-blues
of the irises in Countessa Isabella's
palazzo gardens, the olive groves,
the Tuscan hills, the marble monuments
chiselled by those with passionate
and rebellious souls just like you?
Were you never homesick for the
knelling of the bells of Firenze?
Did you rue the village steeple
tolling out your final hours
before death called you home?
You, the one who traced the paths of
heroes through epitaphs and gravestones.
Your desire for honour so great,
but they laid you down
into the yawn of the icy ground
In London's Turnham Green.
Two-score and four years later
at the request of a king, you now rest
in marble's cool embrace
in the Basilica of Santa Croce,
the pantheon of Italian glory
Because Vittorio Emanuele II
brought an errant son back home.