Empire of the heart

You shake me to the core

Fire-fused mountains

 And crumbling foundations

Hot as your passion

For living untamed

You bleed through me

When my soul sings through

The hot-baked clay

Of flesh and bone

You make me move

To the dance of dying

As if this day were my last

And your roads lead to eternity

Martyr lilies flower fair

And the scent of basil

Is fresh and pungent

As the prayers to the Virgin

Swirling up in smoking trails

Your taste is on my tongue

In eating or praying

You burn my throat

Like the candles of blessing

At table or altar lit

Raise me a glass of your wine

Alla tua salute!

You are molten flame and ash

Sea storm and eye of faith

Life’s heart and death’s door

Though never I saw your face,

You write my story

My face bears your map

My spirit swells with your song

And I tread the Appian Way

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