I like the smell of cooking that reaches me through an open window or
the curtain in the summer, stirred by a gust of wind;
I like the sound of a bottle being uncorked and
the red wine that clings to the glass;
I like the crackle of chestnuts on the embers;
I like the smell of lemon that sticks to your fingers.
I like the bubbling of the coffee pot on the gas;
I like the fading smell of coffee and
the smell of melting chocolate that comes later;
I like fogged windows on cold days;
I like the silence of summer evenings and the sound of waves at night;
I like the smell of fish in a rusty old fishing boat;
I like fish nibbling at bread on the surface of the water and darting away;
I like crabs scuttling away into the hollow of a rock;
I like birds that take shelter under a gable and wait for the rain to stop;
I like the snail dragging itself energetically to a hiding place;
I like bicycle bells.
I like the white of seaside houses and
old courtyards with the clothes hung out to dry.
I like walking barefoot in the summer;
I like cooking on a veranda;
I like houses that welcome you with the smell of cooking;
I like old songs that take your breath away;
I like the smell of pines and the aroma of freshly washed laundry;
I like the rattle of hail on window panes and the texture of volcanic rock;
I like the hand of an infant reaching into the air;
I like faces wrinkled by life;
I like the smack of lips on skin;
I like the light in the sky when the sun as gone down.
I like it when a book is waiting for me on the chest of drawers
I like an untidy book shop;
I like reading in the shade;
I like people reading at bus stops;
I like women who like food;
I like people who are still astonished by the stars;
I like the hum of a fan in the background;
I like imagining the face of a woman from behind;
I like my children’s smiles;
I like those who love first;
I like people who know how to ask for forgiveness;
I like people who haven’t worked out how to find their way in the world;
I like people who know how to love one another;
I like those with the strength to believe in something with all their heart;
I like people who fight every day to be happy.
This poem is from Chapter 29 of Lorenzo Marone, The Temptation to be Happy (translated from Italian), One World Publications, London, 2017. Temptations is a novel about life’s twists and turns as recounted by 77-year old Cesare, a widower and cynical troublemaker who is determined to be happy even though, as he puts it, “I threw my life down the toilet.”. A delicious book laced with heart-warming humor. This poem from Chapter 29 caps the story of a lifetime, a poetic celebration of Cesare’s many simple joys.