In the Hollow Space Under the StairIn the hollow space under the stair
spiders breed all unaware
of an untrimmed door set in the wall
behind the paint, narrow and small.
This door opens on meadows bright –
even while the household sleeps at night –
or, perhaps, on rainy days
where water licks at stony quays,
and houses lean across canals,
and ships return from hunting whales;
or else, broaching lands of trolls,
cracks wide the face of hoary knoll.
In the pantry, by the box of bread
someone has a flashlight hid;
close by it, on upper shelves
is tucked away – a book of tales.
I say not who, I say not when
might journey to an hour's end
from the hollow space under the stair –
and all the household unaware!
for VeneziaMy mind has become crowded with Venice:
Its streets spoke out through my skull,
(I'm sure you can see)
In passageways shadowed between windowed stonework
Whose terminus is often in water, where echoes die.
I've no gondola to send them on
Past the quiet, past the lattices, past the forgetfulness
Which requires that I retrace
Curves to the square.
Beside me always the hassle, always the hustle,
Wheeling, ranting, raving, colors of cloths
Clever silk-spun and lacemaker's snares,
Piano's plunk across the piazza,
Glint, glance, gilt and gleam of glass,
Multitudes melded to a melancholy Murano, corner to wall:
Trefoil sputtering lamp-lit stare of the lion on the quay.
Gelato is a kind of baptism
For those who would not normally confess;
Walking jeans and gauzy shoulders ply the busy wilderness
In supposed effortless resistance and all the signs suggest
At least you'll show something for what you have seen,
Art and its many lucid motives, or madness,
Court and cathedral t