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A DEFINITIVE HISTORY OF VENICE

LA SERENISSIMA

 

…stucco white as cuttlefish. In shadows,

a lion’s mouth utters advantage or blame.

The whitewashed stench of the prison inspires

the palace. An improbable city:

a wedding of sky, water, stone, lagoon –

colours luminously true to art, art

celebrating business, gold transformed to

lead, marble, canvas, paint. The lake dwellers’

ambition: exploitation and caprice…

 

 

 

 

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A DEFINITIVE HISTORY OF VENICE

PIAZZA DI SAN MARCO

 

After the sky has shaded from indigo

to sepia, when swifts have gone and pigeons

roost in the crepuscular arcades,

when the Basilica’s looted bronze horses

are illumined – where Rossano Brazzi

and Katherine Hepburn failed to meet

at any one of the five cafés in

Napoleon’s ‘most splendid drawing room

in Europe’, where Proust (holidaying

at the Danieli with mother) corrected

his translation of Ruskin and criticised

the risotto,

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A DEFINITIVE HISTORY OF VENICE

BACINO DI SAN MARCO

 

From the Daniele’s restaurant terrace,

a bride and groom watch a shower of rain,

against the deep blue of the sky, approach

from the Adriatic, fall on the Lido,

San Lazzaro, La Giudecca, become

a foil for San Giorgio Maggiore,

La Dogana, La Salute, disappear

out of sight, somewhere over the lagoon.

 

As the late afternoon sun glows on wet

marble and the monogamous swifts return,

the man exclaims,

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A DEFINITIVE HISTORY OF VENICE

DECLINE AND FALL

 

Once, there were no panhandlers in La

Serenissma. Now there are four beggars –

men from Dalmatia, the old colonies,

and a Roma woman with no past.

Near the Rialto, two alternate

on the same pitch: heads sunk, hands out, their stories

in English on cardboard. The third plays

an accordion near the Accademia,

his history on plywood at his feet.

Only the woman, dark-eyed, distressed, who sits

anonymous, huddled,

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A DEFINITIVE HISTORY OF VENICE

A CONTINUING CITY

 

A millennium of trade and empire

has pushed the wooden piles the founders drove

more deeply into the seditious silt

than they had intended.

 

In Campo di Ghetto, ‘Juda Merda’

is daubed: on Fondamente Nouve,

grammatically correct, ‘Venezia

truffa i touristi.’

 

On San Michele lie Ezra Pound, the

Stravinskys, somebody from Salop and

Venetian bourgeoisie almost safe in

their ferrara chambers.

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Catalogue

By Posted on 2 No tags

WORK POSTED IN EACH CATEGORY IS LISTED ON THIS PAGE:

POETRY IS LISTED ACCORDING TO THE DATE(S) EACH POEM HAS BEEN POSTED:

28.3.18: A CHEESE BY ANY OTHER NAME; IN CAMERA; INSPIRATION; THE TAXIDERMY; ANOTHER PLACE REVISITED AT LOW WATER.

22.2.18: VALENTINE WEATHERS ; CARROG; OPUS 40; AFTER DINNER; THE OFFICE OF THE DEAD.

26.1.18: OF JOY; THE STORM; A DAY OUT; THE SEAS AND THE STARS;

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