Above Mount Vesuvius

Above Mount Vesuvius

We live atop the volcano
that has not ceased the overflow
of molten rock and molten metal
since before we were born,

since a generation from long ago
that fell beneath the molten flow.

We live to cap the volcano.
Each cap fails and we cap again.
Nothing seals the pressure,
nothing protects from the heat,

though a tree amid the molten flow
is rooted from above, growing from below.

We live despite the volcano
and we live and the tree, unburnt,
flourishes through each eruption,
grows higher above the inferno.

The rock around the roots
remains, restored and renewed.