Hurray for Wednesday. I feel okay, and I’ll take that. In the morning lecture, David Rivard deconstructs two poems – “The Day Lady Died” by Frank O’Hara and “They Flee From Me” by Sir Thomas Wyatt. I could have listened to the discussion for another hour. Words are so sneaky and blatant.
Field Trip! They herd us onto a bus for a day trip to Segesta, a jumble of ruins with elements of a thousand years of successive civilizations. Its glory is an ancient temple and theater. The amphitheater cannot compare with the temple, which sits above a ravine, embraced by wooded hills in unbowed majesty. Constructed twenty-five hundred years ago from golden limestone now much eroded, the structure glows. It is complete, yet incomplete. Though fully intact, with all its columns upright and both pediments in situ, the building was never finished, never roofed. The story is quite convoluted and subject to much conjecture. Our guide is a well put-together woman whose labored and heavily accented tone and tendency to throw all the gods, Greek and Roman and Phoenician, into a loose theological bag makes her difficult to follow. She displays a curious affinity for the accomplishments of Mussolini, remarking several times on his local railway buildings.
I feel whipped when the bus deposits us back in Erice. A shower can provide only the illusion of spiritual renewal. We’re on our own for dinner and I join a group of ten. I’ve struck up a rapport with a personable young guy from Athens, Georgia. The table is alive with banter.
The search for dessert results in disappointment. The legendary (to Erice) Maria Grammatico patisserie is a bust. “This isn’t good,” I say staring sadly at my weird custard tart. Go fuck yourself, Maria Grammatico.