September 2010 Archives

Venice Moments

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Red sun sinks into lagoon

Pale moon rises

Venice at sunset.

 

Silver track of moon

Mingles with trembling sodium glow

Night waters lap.

 

Cultivating chi

With view of San Marco

How wonderful!

 

Red ant crawls on foot

But does not bite

Reed warblers chirp.

 

Black swift nests

On Laundromat strip light

Cleverly luring her prey.

 

Red moon rises

Round over lagoon

Arrivederci, Venezia.


Venezia

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 Neptune honoured you

Buxom mother Venezia

With riches you could not imagine

Cornucopia of crude

The dubious blessing

Of oilrigs and refineries.

Juno showers down on you

The wealth of nations

Dollars, pounds, yen

Flow into your coffers

Price of your once-proud soul.

Ibrahim, Ishmael and Ali

Sell fake Gucci bags

Outside Venetian Institute.

Pigeons peck for crumbs

Amid litter and cigarette butts

How are the mighty fallen!

You won the Battle of Lepanto

But lost the war with Mammon

Charging pilgrims for darshan

Of San Marco's tomb.

 

At last, out on the lagoon

I found your heart and essence

More ancient that Doge

Or Serenissima Republica

No armour, no velvet capes

No trompe d'oeil panels

A tower rising above tranquil fields

A simple Byzantine apse

Where Theotokos rises

Above us in gold mosaic.

She is the mother, the sea

You the bambino

Cradled in her arms

A jewel to delight the world.


 

The Brass Clock

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Created in a factory in France

For the Russian market

You were shipped to Bessarabia

Where Bubbas and Zeders admired

Your shiny brass, your wall of glass

Your spinning cogwheels

And your French cachet.

You marked their days and weeks

The lighting of the samovar

Kindling of Sabbath candles.

 

When Abraham journeyed to a distant land

You traveled with him

Took your place on a Whitechapel mantel.

Your tick tock lulled the births

Of Mark, David, Annie, Isaaac, Phil,

And little Minnie,

Told the times for shul and bar mitzvah.

You showed the midnight hour

When Phil eloped

With sweet sixteen Polish Perel.

 

Like many an immigrant

You moved on to the suburbs

And when at last the patriarch closed his eyes

And sons in sequence chose a keepsake--

One the silver samovar

Another the Sabbath candlesticks--

You were left to Philip

A permanent reminder of his junior status.

 

Abraham, Isaac, Grandpa

Have passed away long since,

You still keep perfect time

On an Ipswich dresser

Marking days and weeks

As you always did.

One day your hands will spin back seven hours

And Sabbath lights will sparkle on your brass

In Turtle Island.

 

 

 

In an English Cottage Garden, Freston

 

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For years I have tried to capture you

Diligently planting hollyhocks and foxgloves

In the land of tallgrass prairie

To battle searing heat

And late May snowstorms.

Your glorious profusion

Belongs to the drizzle, the pheasant

The salty estuary tang

The wheeling seagull,

Your colours vibrant

Against grey June sky.

 

Black bumblebee dives deep

In digitalis cave

Raindrops quiver on crimson, yellow,

Pink, peach, ivory tea roses

Tangled with magenta peonies

And scarlet field poppies

Against a dizzying backdrop

Of white hollyhock spires

And delphiniums at budbreak.

Wood pigeon cries

"You can't go a-fishin' "

Song thrush and warblers sing

Wind rustles beech and chestnut--

These no photograph can show.

 

Garden, in the home of prickly pear and yucca,

I will remember you!



 

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