Wednesday, May 18, 2022

A Tarantella Tale

By Joseph Cacibauda
A Tarantella Tale

Lamp aglow in
casa evenings
Nonna Pina’s
Story to spin.

Children gathered
All around her
Faces beaming
Then she’d begin.

“Once a woman
Not an old one
Had two Children
Not very bright.

She wove baskets
Sold them quickly
Hid the money
Out of plain sight.

Giuseppuzzu
Rosalina
Spied her open
A coffee can.

Stuff her money
Most her earnings
What was left she
Paid the taxman

‘Momma Momma’
They did cry out
‘Why you hide your
Money that way?’

‘It’s for hard times
That may soon come
So I have to
Save for the day.’

Nonna mentioned
She did stress
Giusepp’ and Rosa
Had pasta for brains

Blabbed to their friends
Of the money
Saved for hard times
Hidden away.

Now it happened
That a classmate
Guido Latru
Heard of the can.

Told his uncle
There was money
He might eas’ly
Get in his hands

Ziu Latru
Hid in shadows
Watching Momma
Leave for the day.

When she did leave
Ziu Latru
Crept up slowly
Sizing his prey

‘Oh my children
My sweet children
Is your momma
Available, my dears?’

‘She has left sir,’
Said the two kids
‘Well she asked I
Meet her right here.

I’m expected
Did she tell you?
I do need the
Money you see.

I am Hard Times
Now please tell me
Where the hidden
money mighty be.

Rosalina
and Giuseppe
So well mannered
Obedient too.

Got the can that
Mom had hidden
Brought it to him
‘It’s all for you.’

‘Momma Momma’
They were so proud
We have something
Special to say.

While you were gone
Mister Hard Times
Came to take his
Money away.’

“Did she beat those
Naughty children?”
Nonna Pina’s
Niputi asked.

“What would you do?”
Said their Nonna.
Think about it
It’s time for bed.”

 

NOTE: A poem that the author’s Sicilian mother used to narrate to him when he was a child. Mr. Cacibauda wrote it in the meter of a tarantella…
Joseph Cacibauda
Joseph Cacibauda
Joseph L. Cacibauda is a retired elementary teacher living in Reno, Nevada with his wife Sue. He is the author of After Laughing Comes Crying: Sicilian Immigrants on Louisiana Plantations, Legas Press, New York, 2009; Not For Self: A Sicilian Life and Death in Marion, Legas Press, New York, 2017; and other books available at Amazon.com. He is a life member of the Arba Sicula Sicilian Society and has occasionally published in their journal and newsletter as well as written for Italian America Magazine of Sons and Daughters of Italy.

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