Thursday, December 1, 2016

30/30 Project: Poem for Day 1

If you haven't heard about my participating in Tupelo Press's "30/30 Project" where I'll write 30 poems in 30 days this month, click here.

Here is the poem for that first day, followed by a brief note on it. Thanks for reading.

Venetian nocturne

Sitting alone on
the Fondamente Nuove
smoking staring out

Looking up at me
as I stroll along the quay
wishing after stars

She’s solitary
and furtive as a night-bird
will she fly away

Scott Williamson
(Venice - Roanoke; July - Nov 2016).

This series of haiku was inspired by a night time stroll I regularly took while in residence in the Cannaregio neighborhood (sestiere) of Venice. I was there for a month this past July - August, renting a fabulous Air BnB apartment after the settling of part of my mom's estate. I had long wanted to take a mini-sabbatical and work on artistic projects. One of my goals this trip was to retrace the footsteps of beloved artists and composers from Monteverdi to Bernstein, and in particular, to follow the itinerary of Benjamin Britten.
(View of the moon over the Venetian lagoon, from "I Felzi" apartment)

My apartment was a 90-second walk to the main thoroughfare (both pedestrian and marine) of the area, the Fundamente Nuove. Most Venetian arrivals and departures stop there; it affords views of the mysterious cemetery island, San Michele (where Stravinsky is buried), in addition to popular outlying islands like Murano (the "mecca" of glass-blowing). The Venetian hospital (the Ospedale) is the next stop over, and so while Venice is a relatively crime-free city, what few sirens there are (and they're all attached to the only motorized vehicle in the city: the boat) happen to be in this neighborhood. And yet how quiet the nights are! It was one such night where I saw the woman described in this poem.

The last line of an earlier version read "should I have said hi", and was entitled "Donna tristessa".

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