Fra Savonarola, Prior of St Marks,
expelled the Medici in 1494, proclaiming
Jesus Christ king of Florence, and himself
his political executive, his people drunk
on a fanatic passion. In just four years—
the term of a US President—they had turned, ashamed
at the morning-after evidence of their excess, and found
heresies enough to roast him in the same piazza
where so short a time before they burned their pagan books,
where we sit now and drink our Pinot Grigiot
and eat vitello slightly charred, too late to save
Savonarola, too late to join or reason with the mob
who welcomed back the devil they knew best,
the Medici and their motto: Semper, always.
Fourth of five poems in the sequence Postcards from Florence.
© Godfrey Rust 1996, email@example.com. See here for permissions.