Paul StJohn Mackintosh

Writing * Poetry * Dark Fiction * Weird * Fantastic * Horror * Fantasy * Science Fiction * Literature

New poem

Another picture poem

Bones of Venice

From Canaletto’s sketchbook, a
perspective view in black and white
of the Piazzetta, shows
the bare bones of those famous oils,
a wireframe scaffolding to hang
luxurious canvas on, across
the walls of chilly stately homes,
anatomizing all that pomp
drying on stretchers overseas.
The camera obscura trace
reveals the working methods of
the celebrated scene painter
who looked beneath the flimsy myth
to the hidden vanishing point
between the Doge’s Palace and
the Marciana Library,
still the same basic fabric as
Byron and Casanova saw,
stripped bleak as a De Chirico,
the flocks of culture vultures flown.
If the Serene Republic proved
so ephemeral, then what price all
those hordes of tourists passing through
the drawing room of Europe? There
for a brief whiff of their own demise
in that gorgeous catafalque
sheltering relics strewn across
the marshy Adriatic shore,
shored up by piles sunk in the mud.