Dolce far niente

Cannolo Siciliano courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Photograph originally posted by Paolo Piscolla on Flickr.

Inside the cannoli
of not doing,
they pipe sugared ricotta.
Rest proves too rich a sweet for me.

After a physically exhausting weekend which included a day’s training and a three-hour orchestra rehearsal, plus some over-eating in celebration for my birthday, I have felt steamrollered. It’s all been my own doing; there’s no denying this. Of course, I felt compelled to write a poem inspired by what has gripped me most since: seeking recovery.

So for the last two days I have tried to write a poem about rest. (Yes, let’s not point out the obvious contradiction of this effort.) Dolce far niente is the Italian idea of pleasant, carefree downtime (lit. sweet doing nothing). Rest is one of the greatest challenges I wrestle with in life. I resist it, and inevitably end up paying for this stubbornness. Everything kindly brings me to STOP and I’ll end up in bed for two or three days courtesy of a cold, ‘flu or malfunctioning kidneys.

What have I done subsequently? I have attempted some napping, but today I simply downed about five cups of coffee – but no cannoli. Not a very healthy nor very mature substitute for proper rest.

But at least here is a poem!
And perhaps tonight I shall go to bed a little earlier.

Twitter: @BeadedQuill
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In the Ocean: a year of poetry
Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys
Shining in Brightness: Selected Poems, 1999 – 2012

Published by BeadedQuill

Author of over 300 poems, also books, essays and short stories. Published in the Johannesburg Review of Books, Carapace and Type/Cast. BeadedQuill's titles are for sale via

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