Ancient Past poetry

Across the way from Stabiae

October 22, AD 79 Tempus matutinus
Days before I turn to dust,
I embrace heaven in the doorway
and thrust my arms wide to touch the frame.

October 23, AD 79 Meridies
Rumbles drill; they ring closer still.
My part in it, I know not force.
I’m poet, philosopher, lector, and scribe.
One day they will see that …

October 24, AD 79 Opacare
Wide rules I use for rhyme and verse.
My mind is adrift…
One’s blessings are now cursed. 
Black days are rumbling:
(I am not the first; my ancestors’ chronicles
live in rhyme and verse).
Heaven intones in one flash burst
across the way from Stabiae.


MMXV.VIII.XXIII. Photo credit: “Garden in Pompeii” by Pieter BiesemansOriginally published on August 23, 2015. it was revealed that the eruption took place on October 24, 79, and not in August, as previously believed, so I updated the poem to reflect this information.


Life is short, so let’s be decent.

52 replies on “Across the way from Stabiae”

I’m glad you saw that, thank you. I queued this poem several months before the publishing date all the while wondering if it would work. I really like this one, it felt real to me.


Oh, so magic… I’d bet you have already been there, maybe in a previous life. I have been there a few times (I was born at less than 20 miles from Pompeii) and in your words I can feel all the mystery of a presence, the same one that follows you around when you walk through those beautifully cobbled streets. xoxoxo, HC

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Thank you so much for that affirming commentary, HC. I’m glad I have learned another interesting thing about you. Inspiration is hard to explain. Writing this poem was an easy walk down memory lane. I hope I’ll have more moments like that in future. (Wishes self luck) x

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A few years ago, I visited Bodmin Jail in Cornwall, and the image you’ve used brought back memories. It makes one believe, spirits of the past are waiting just behind the wall, ready to jump out, and scare the unsuspecting. 😀

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I’m sure you will have but if you haven’t, take a look at Susan Sontag’s The Volcano Lover, it’s a very romantic take on the 18th century love affair with all things Roman and Pompeii. N

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Thank you, Nick for letting me know of another poem written on the theme. I was just at Susan Sontag’s blog, but I did not see The Volcano Lover. This poem was written in April and queued for this date. I did not use similar poetry as a reference for it.


You’re so clever and smart and brilliant. I was thinking of father or son, but I didn’t want to be too specific. Pompeii is also on my visit list. The stories from that time are so fascinating. I don’t think I’ve missed a single documentary on the events leading up to or during the eruption. x


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