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Impressions of Venice

Mudflats crazed with sun-cracks for the seeping tide.
A town that lies unsleeping
On a lullaby of lapping water.
Alleys sentried by a silent cat.
Window-box geraniums, lines of pastel washing,
Flaked plaster, crumbled brick, balconies
Swathed in iron cobwebs,
Flying buttress bridges and the dark,
Deep, sly water sliding past the walls.
Sunshine on mosaic gold; pigeons with the light
Piercing their spreading feathers as they land.
Sea-scoured streets and cambered cobbles;
Dripping fountains in deserted squares;
Scented courtyards where the trees
Have each their round receptacle of shade.
The sea, a skirting carpet,
Inching loose threads over the polished quays.
Islands drowned in distance
And yet: a pocket town, with finite sky,
Roofed in by its aesthetic and oppressed
By all the shoring of the past;
Bottled like fruit.
Mudflats from the air: streets, squares and dark canals
Leaning towards the peace of their reflection.

by Damaris West

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