Genoa

A poem by Henry Lawson

A long farewell to Genoa
That rises to the skies,
Where the barren coast of Italy
Like our own coastline lies.
A sad farewell to Genoa,
And long my heart shall grieve,
The only city in the world
That I was loath to leave.
No sign of rush or strife is there,
No war of greed they wage.
The deep cool streets of Genoa
Are rock-like in their age.
No garish signs of commerce there
Are flaunting in the sun.
A rag hung from a balcony
Is by an artist done.

And she was fair in Genoa,
And she was very kind,
Those pale blind-seeming eyes that seem
Most beautifully blind.
Oh they are sad in Genoa,
Those poor soiled singing birds.
I had but three Italian words
And she three English words.

But love is cheap in Genoa,
Aye, love and wine are cheap,
And neither leaves an aching head,
Nor cuts the heart too deep;
Save when the knife goes straight, and then
There’s little time to grieve,
The only city in the world
That I was loath to leave.

I’ve said farewell to tinted days
And glorious starry nights,
I’ve said farewell to Naples with
Her long straight lines of lights;
But it is not for Naples but
For Genoa that I grieve,
The only city in the world
That I was loath to leave.

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