‘He beheld the city, and wept over it.’ Luke 19.41
We went up Mount Vesuvius by bus,
and stood on the rim of the crater
watching gases emerge from fissures.
We bought two bottles – a red and a white –
of the local wine, Lachryma Christi,
for a fellow atheist from the gift shop.
As we walked back down the fertile slopes – the sea
before us, hazy, tranquil – we heard
a cuckoo. All of Campania seemed stilled –