Poems of the Week


by Eddie Aderne

“Italian village underwater since 1994 could resurface
The [13th century] village of Fabbriche di Careggine, in Tuscany, Lucca province, was flooded in 1946
to build a hydroelectric dam …
Submerged under 34 million cubic meters of water, the still intact
structures of the abandoned village—including stone houses, a bridge, a cemetery and the San
Teodoro Church—reemerge only when the dam is emptied for maintenance.
According to local
tourism officials, this has happened only four times: in 1958, 1974, 1983 and 1994.”


Near the quarries of Carrara
Lies a village all alone:
Three-arched bridge and campanile,
Ancient houses all of stone,

With the church of Teodoro
And its final resting ground,
All subsumed by engineering
And professionally drowned.

While her stony phantom sisters
High-and-dryly freeze or bake,
Lost Fabbriche bathes her frescoes
In a redirected lake;

Only once in every decade
When the maintenance is due
Is the weight of water lifted,
And the land returned to view.

Then the bell-tower damply splutters
And the bell shakes off its rust,
While the cemetery shivers
With the soft return of dust,

And a faint pavana echoes
Through the bridge, long water-jammed,
To salute those strange fiestas
When the dead are all undammed.