“The Vision of Saint Augustine”

By Beverley Bie Brahic Beverley Bie Brahic

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.

Beverley Bie, “The Vision of Saint Augustine” from Against Gravity (Worple Press, England, 2005). Published by permission of the author.

Source: Poetry (October 2001).


This poem originally appeared in the October 2001 issue of Poetry magazine

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October 2001
 Beverley  Bie Brahic


Poet and translator Beverley Bie Brahic was born in Canada and now lives in Paris and the San Francisco Bay Area. Her poetry collection White Sheets (CB editions, 2012) was a finalist for the Forward Prize. Her work has appeared in Field, Literary Imagination, Notre Dame Review, the Southern Review, the Times Literary Supplement, and elsewhere.

Beverley Bie Brahic’s translations include Guillaume Apollinaire: The Little Auto (CB . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Religion, Nature, Trees & Flowers, Christianity


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