November 28, 1929 & “Venice”

VENICE

City of dreams

Arising from the waters!

 

Little steamers plying

On the sparkling Lagoon!

 

Gondoliers calling

In their quaint patois!

 

In the gondola we may sit at ease

And drift along the Grand Canal

Fronted with palaces;

They are the work of master architects and sculptors

Now armored in marble tombs.

They were the dwelling places of nobles

Who lived hundreds of years ago.

They are seamed and beaten with storms;

The decades have dimmed their whiteness;

They shelter travelers from over the seas

And their walls will catch the echo

Of foreign tongues

In ages yet to come.

 

We may drift along market places

And meet flat boats

Laden with meat and vegetables,

Or glide along narrow channels

And forgotten ways amid silences,

Quaint old buildings on either side,

Blossoming foliage in between . . .

Still with the illusion of a dream.

Venice has St. Marks

With its priceless treasures

Of mosaic and gold.

Its doves come down

From the sheltering arches of carven roofs

Among the cloud fringes

To give us welcome.

 

Venice has glittering shops;

They flash and gleam and lure the traveler;

Marvels of hand made lace;

Art treasures in soft leather.

Little enticing shops

Spread with amber and coral from sea meadows

And submerged reefs.

They are hung with evanescent beads

That sparkle and catch the light

In shades of dazzling color,

Carved and fashioned by expert hands

And carried away to the ends of the earth.

 

Venice loves silence,

But the guests who sleep in her palaces

Are aroused in the deeps of morning

By the splitting shriek of a siren.

It is a long unending wail;

It penetrates her solitutdes;

Its resonance startles the echoes

Along her winding water ways.

 

Venice loves silence,

But her evening skies are oft-times black;

Thunder rolls and reverberates;

Lightning flashes, zigzag and flaming,

It reveals black waters that dash and clamor

Against the platform at Lido’s café.

Brisk waiters whisk the cloths

From a myriad of tables.

They turn over chairs

And the rain comes pelting down

Like the patter of a multitude of shod feet.

 

The little steamer carries us carefully

Between the white posts of the Lagoon;

On each post a light is gleaming;

The rain falls easily,

As it always does in Venice.

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