Carpaccio, San Giorgio degli Schiavoni, Venice
You are amazed to find trees in Venice —
To turn a corner into a campo
Where two or three rustling acacias
Spread their halo of leaves
Over two or three red-slatted benches.
It’s as if you had slipped through a curtained doorway
Into a hall full of dull gold scenes
By Carpaccio — a miraculous light —
Though the rio’s still shrouded in a mist
Compounded of water vapour and smog
So it’s not that the sun has come out, it’s
Something to do with the leaves and painting
In the realm of echoes where footsteps
Reverberate endlessly between two walls
And dawn is the chink of a stonemason
At his reparations, disembodied
Voices irresistible as bird calls.
Yes, you’re amazed to find trees in Venice
Shedding their gold leaf onto the pavement
Outside a secondhand bookstore.
It’s like Carpaccio’s little white dog
Wagging his tail at the feet of Saint Augustine
Who is staring out of the window
Looking for the voice of Saint Jerome.