VENICE :: arrivederci

How can I say goodbye?
Let the world spin, I’ll sit here
Listening to the lapping of water on stone shores
A waking dream of marvels
Plunging into shadows
Faster than my eyes can feast.


Do you know how much it means to me?
To sail through watery streets,
To lose myself in a maze of stone,
To wander down back lanes
In silent revel,
To watch the world unfold behind every corner.


This is my place of paradise,
This mere dot on a map,
This strong of letters that make up a name,
That tug at my heart and
Kindle my soul
That stir the depth of imagined memories


Of years pouring over books and screens
With vivid images in my mind
Of criss-crossing canals and silent boats
That glide in with the deepening shadow
Of magnificence and decadence,
Of towers that glint in morning light,
Of clocks that chime,
Of squares so mighty that all the world
Shrinks before your eyes.


The reality is all that and more.
It is ships that sail unceasingly,
A maze of lanes like spider webs.
It is small patches of blue skies
That fade into dusk.
It is that lilting language unhalting
Like a crackling fire dancing merrily
It is a million steps over stone bridges
And shops with masks dancing in the light.


This is not a place you forget.
I will not trade these memories
For anything the world can offer me.
Unfamiliar laneways become the back of my hand,
The rumbling of boats becomes a lullaby.
And indeed it is hard to say goodbye
To this city that has captured
A shard of my heart
And memories that linger in my mind.


[Written 24/7/16 on my last day in Venice, sitting on the steps by the Grand Canal]


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