Saturday, 16 February 2008

P-i-R's Venetian snapshots

Poet-in-Residence has written several poems about Venice. The poem 'Snapshots' is about an interesting exhibition held recently at the Doge's Palace. The poem highlights historical connections that are sometimes overlooked.
The work first appeared about 4 months ago on 'ink-sweat-and-tears'. In the margin there's a handy P-i-R link to Charles Christian's popular and friendly website.


The panel of the Ottoman military tent
is blazoned with a ring of crescent moons
and a six-pointed star.

It is roughly patched and battle weary.

It hangs limply on the south wall
overseeing flanked memories in oil:

Liberi's Battle of the Dardanelles
Belloti's Battle of Albania
Aliense's Conquest of Tyre
Peranda's Victory at Jaffa

It faces the throne of Saint Peter,-
the stone chair with Koran inscriptions
and arabesque motifs.


Between the protagonists
are found the antique artefacts:

navigational instruments used in sailing
travel journals of merchants
11th century Islamic glassware
and several ancient carpets.


On a canvas a boy leads a monkey
on a long string.


And a few steps away
is Byron's misnamed Ponte dei Sospiri.


Pigeons avoid dense needle defences
on the window ledges
and settle for a night in the beams.


In the Doge's quadrangle the tall figures
of Mars and Neptune stand together
on the wide steps
leading up to the Senate.

c)- Gwilym Williams

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