This Notebook

James Schuyler

is small and stamped,
Made in Italy

it's bound in
Florentine art paper:
a design in blue and brown
of Maltese crosses
and what looks like
bladder wrack. How it takes
me back! To our
pensione on Piazza Frescobaldi,
Ponte Santa Trinità
(replaced, in postwar 40s,
by a Bailey bridge),
the Via Tornabuoni, and
Doney's and Leland's, in 
one of which
Ronald Firbank
dangled grapes—before
my time. When
I walked in Florence I
used to see it not
as the Medicis' stamping ground,
but through the eyes
of one of Henry James'
heroes or heroines:
Isabel Archer, perhaps.
To walk up to
Bellosguardo, to look
and wonder and remember
what I never knew!
Little notebook, I
love you, and the friend
who gave me you.

James Schuyler was the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning poetry collection The Morning of the Poem.
Originally published:
October 1, 1984

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