Venice - A Masque In Autumn


She is a dream portrayed in water-light,
bride and lover, desirous, magnificent with age;
her towers and palaces seeming to melt away
in the seductive, many-coloured sea.

Harlequinade: motley of craft, curved moons
in burnished cherry-wood, and rakish dories,
fleet rowers from an Arabian frieze, leaning
forward, dripping with mist and thrown spray.

Ashore, the pressing crowd, a jostle of traders,
souls contingent on the sea, somehow charged
with the imminence of landfall, or a putting out,
Argonauts, alert, counting on the flood.

Sure, all the gods of light and fire are here
content to forget at last, and to forgive, while
Peace, beyond the treasure of a thousand kings
flits in and out, disguised as Columbine.



From Pocahontas in Ludgate