The George Crabbe Memorial Poetry Competition 2005
Crabbe Memorial Competition – Third Prize
Adjudicator: Danielle Hope

You may cross the Grand Canal by the Rialto,
midway between the Station and St Mark’s,
loitering between the boutiques and the goldsmiths’ shops;
or you may zig-zag on the vaporetto, scanning
the cool secrets of unattainable palazzi;
while all around you lies the Invisible City,
behind the corpse-like masks of carnival,
inside the empty squares where alleys fly
their flags of lived-in laundry and children
play hop-scotch or torment scrawny cats.

But to enter the Invisible City you must cross
the Grand Canal standing in the traghetto,
keeping your balance with the shoppers
returning from the fish-market,
and maybe someone will converse with you
in Italian. “So you have fields and woods
where you live. Campi e boschi. Che strano.
Then you too may become invisible.

Copyright © 2005 John Watts

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