Father of verbs
what are the words for this unknowing,
what are its lyrics and limits?

The boatman does not answer.
he is busy in conversation
with the other boatmen
and has no inclination to answer

So I came to St Marks square
and let me retract what I said earlier
and admit that it was beautiful

Shadows and birds and water and domes
and the other tourists gathered there
as they also were in Gania
when I stepped into the daylight and saw
a coloured stone jar at an open window
which promised it contained enough
to quench the thirst of the world.

No, I cannot speak of Venice
without speaking of Greece
the sunlight and the boats
the shadows and the birds
and the self, this once,
neither burdened by beauty
nor distracted by it.

the script of the shadows
       which I could not read
the cry of the birds
       which I could not answer
all mingled with
the memory of your cries
still fluttering and shuddering
       in my arms

Such memories are a salvation
are mine
a cargo which as boatman I carry
across the many waters to the islands.

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