Venezia, Italy

Old beauty, land of water, what are you?
What strange slave ants once dredged this hive, what law
once ruled these motley grounds, what people saw
the pound of flesh almost taken by the Jew?
The fogs descend and we are merely flies
that light upon your body for a while.
The world outside is gone. Stars do not smile.
The air is thick with gondoliers’ cries.
How can we, sighted, know your streets as well
as that blind man who sings his ancient tune
beside San Marco? Night awakens, calls
through your old darkness like a graveyard bell.
You simply are. You just exist, immune
to history trying to fell your timeless walls.

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