Poetry: Iolanda Leotta

Iolanda Leotta
The challenge

When things go wrong, there’s no hope.
You have no luck at all. 
Dogged by misfortune in love and life. 
You feel like you’re alone.
What can you do to save yourself?
Although nobody 
seems to want to help you, 
you mustn't give up hope!
there’s always a beacon of light
in the night, a glimmer of humanity.
The longing to escape is pounding,
you’re in prison and think: 
“I will never live”.
You no longer have the strength to fight 
the ones closest to you have become 
your enemies,
you lose your identity and think: it’s over.
With common sense, 
challenge the power of evil,
you must find the miraculous strength,
the confidence in your skills.
The storm shakes the calm sea, 
is relentless,
the sailors' hearts beat stronger,
They’re afraid for their lives,
but the brave men don’t give up, 
they challenge the supernatural fury 
of the sea waves.
Don’t give up! fight to the finish.
There are people hurting, 
in need of help, like you.
Come out of the tunnel of pain!
Life's so precious, 
life have to make sense.
Fights for a noble cause 
and you won't be alone.
Henceforth you will live a new life.


It’s impossible to forget the scent of the Indian spices,  
the rush to “Liverpool Station”, then “Seven Kings”. 
Many bus stops to reach an unknown district, 
swallowing an hamburger, to be eaten on the spot, 
to make bleeding the hours: 
I, by myself, brooding with my thoughts, my free will, 
the sense of responsibility, the morality, 
I was watchful as a watchman, he never low his guard 
down, cause he doesn’t want to fall into the traps of life. 
It was December, the icy cold wind got under my skin 
straight to the bones, I looked at the showcases 
of the restaurants, the aroma of spices overwhelmed me, 
I walked into a bar, someone downstairs, smoked 
marijuana, I drank a cup of hot chocolate and have a talk 
with an Indian bartender, about the wave of frost that 
would come shortly. Me, with the atavistic existential 
problems: “What’s the meaning of life!”. “What’s 
the direction to follow!” Suddenly, a chilling voice: 
“Can I help you? Would you like a lift? I can walk you 
if you want! I said: “No, Thank you! I’m almost there”. 
Nothing could change me, far from compromises, 
keeping my feet on the ground and my brain that speed 
around, towards new horizons, new places to explore, 
to know, love and live my life to the fullest.
Live must be colorful like spices: saffron and cumin,
like the bright colours of indian girls’ clothes 
that walks on the haunted streets of “Chadwell”.
It’s night, I open the door and “Mangiù”, the Indian lady 
who hosts me, recommends me: “Remember! 
you have to become a strong and independent woman, 
this is your payback, don’t concern yourself for the past 
that hurt you, I've suffered, too”, but I left you, I closed 
the doorand said: “Goodbye” for the last time, 
while the pungent aroma of ginger and curcuma 
followed me in the kitchen.
Then the deafening noise of the train, the heavy suitcase 
full of memories: the picture of the Indian guru 
and the “Goddess of Fortune” that one night I dreamed.
I'm back where I started. Good luck did come my way.
I realize that I’m a visionary and I’m planning my next 
adventurous trip.

An enchanted garden

There was a time when I used to go 
to the terrace of my house.
I spent some time there as a child.
A small garden was adorned 
with green plants and flowers 
of beautiful colors.
A pine tree illuminated by the sun,
reflected its shadow on the small garden 
and occasionally upon the branches 
on a cherry tree, was resting a goldfinch 
that never stopped chirping.
So much tenderness to see it. 
Thoughts ran in and out of my mind.
Those tender and light plants 
were moved by the spring wind 
and invited me to listen that sweet sound.
I could see only hopes green as grass
and wonderful dreams around me 
in those days. 
I was enchanted by its beauty. 
A warm summer morning
I turned to my mother and told her: 
“You took care of the plants
as if they were your children,
I’ll never stop telling you thanks.
Your hands are blessed, 
as if by magic you’ve created 
a paradise on earth out of nothing”.
Small, enchanted garden, 
friend of my sad days, 
of my unlimited imagination,
you’re like an oasis in the desert 
of this existence, I’ll always evoke you.
I consider you essential for my life.
You’re memorable!

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