Thursday, 19 March 2009

A graveyard in Venice

Here's a recently recovered, much revised, poem to do with Poet-in-Residence's visit in 2005 to a Venetian graveyard. It was Napoleon's idea that the Venetian's bury their dead out of town as it were. The Reporto Evangelico is a short ferry ride from the main island, about halfway to the island of Murano.
The overall contribution of Ezra Pound, whose reputation lives mainly on the back of his Cantons, to the history of poetry and art in general, because of his support for Mussolini and his inferior Chinese translations as someone, perhaps it was J M Coetzee, called them, is debatable. For comparison we may consider Joseph Brodsky or Igor Strawinsky; two with whom Pound now shares a place in the sun.

Reporto Evangelico

A dazzling patch of sunlight
strikes and is reflected
from a marble slab of white
which lies beside a leafy shadowed path
in the Reporto Evangelico
where I see a brown lizard
shaped like a question mark,
a question mark which seems
to be barely breathing -
it's only a shadow on a marble slab
marked with the name

And then I'm moved to look
through the children's letters
held in see-through folders
propped against another stone
standing over sprays of flowers;
and to count the many stones
and coloured shells left all around
by children and other poets; there's water too
in a small green bottle and many
coloured pencils in a box
beside the rougher upright stone
of Joseph Brodsky.

gw 2005

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