Leaning Tower of Pisa**

By Hillol Ray

The famed Tower of Pisa has breached the threshold,
Tilting into a danger zone-
While an unforeseen event could cause the topple,
And set the demise tone!
A strong wind can blow it over, or even an Earth tremor
Could cause the crash-
Unless we pay the attention now to save this marvel
Before it becomes a trash!

The laws of Physics and Gravity need to be re-examined
To prevent it from the fall-
And the residents of this medieval city, shrugging off the warning,
Need the wake-up call!
The danger is real now, and the margin of safety
Is extremely low-
While the area beneath the tower is on a shaky ground,
Affected by the ground water flow!

 This Renaissance masterpiece has weathered over time
To become 830 years old-
And attracted millions of visitors
Who like to treasure it as bullion of gold!
This marvel of marble is a famous landmark in Italy
And deserves the global attention now-
To prevent from the total collapse, and needs
The proper inclination through technical know-how!

The beauty of this leaning tower is impeccable
And holds fond memories of ancient ages-
While the fables can be found in various books,
When we flip through the history pages!
To ensure its longevity, experts need to come forward
With a long-term solution-
And I urge it sooner for the visitors’ safety,
With an eye to local pollution!

The livelihood of souvenir hawkers depends on the tilt,
But they can’t rest easy-
Because of the tilt that has kept the “Special Commission”
And the Government busy!
So, may I draw the global attention of technical experts?
To find a scientific way-
And insist on the proper inclination
To prevent this tower from any further sway!!

** During an invited presentation and my recent visit (Summer-2001) to Pisa, Italy, I had the opportunity to get a glimpse of this marvel of marble with my own eyes.  The famed Tower of Pisa needs no introduction to the readers and travelers around the world.  It has a long history of being on the verge of collapse.  Work on this tower began in 1173.  After completion of the first four stories in 1178, work was abandoned for nearly a hundred years.  The last three stories were added between 1272 and 1278, and evidence in the masonry indicates that the builders were already trying to fix the problem related to a slight tilt.  Recent study indicates that the tower is now leaning at a 5.5-degree angle, while the top edge is overhanging the base by about 17 feet.   Besides the Special Commission, Artwatch International, a New York-based Organization, in conjunction with the Italian Government has been involved with the activities related to this magnificent Tower of Pisa.  My heartfelt appreciations go to those Organizations, Special Commission, Italian Government, and Technical Experts around the world that are diligently working over the years to prevent the collapse and preserve this tower.

October 16, 2001

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