Tuesday, August 07, 2007

le Zattere

Ian Williams, over at xtcian, asked this morning, "what place do you miss terribly right now, and can you link to a picture of it?"

Here is my picture:

For those of you unfamiliar with Venice, that's a shot from the Zattere, along Dorsoduro, looking at the Giudecca at the left and out towards the shipyards off in the distance.

I was there with a group of other people interested in some of what I am interested in, and we had gone out to Dorsoduro that afternoon because it was important to us and to what we were interested in.

Witness this, from Canto LXXXIII:

San Gregorio, San Trovaso
Old Ziovan raced at seventy after his glories
and came in long last
And the family eyes stayed the same Adriatic
for three generations (San Vio)
and was, I suppose, last month the Redentore as usual

Will I ever see the Giudecca again?
or the lights
against it, Ca' Foscari, Ca' Giustinian
or the Ca', as they say, of Desdemona
or the two towers where are the cypress no more
or the boats moored off le Zattere
or the north quai of the Sensaria DAKRUON DAKRUON*

[DAKRUON in Greek (and the second time it should be in Greek letters--don't know how to do that with blogger) means "weeping."]

Ezra Pound wrote that while he was penned up in a cage at Pisa, having been arrested for treason. The poems he wrote there catalogue his losses, and his feared losses, as if they are fending off the loss of his mind or the ultimate loss. Of that same cage he wrote in the same poem:

Nor man who has passed a month in the death cells
believes in cages for beasts

The afternoon we walked around Dorsoduro, looking at San Gregorio, San Trovaso, San Vio, it was raining. In fact, as we had taken the vaporetto from San Servolo back to San Zaccharia, we had watched the storm roll in from the Lido.

While we were waiting for another vap to go over to Dorsoduro, the god of waters had opened a can of rain on our heads, and we had huddled together at the vap station, on the boat, in a walkway, waiting for it to stop. We bought umbrellas from the guys who show up with bags of them when it rains--never was 2 euros better spent (though the umbrella will soon disintegrate). Finally we gave up, and wandered together through Dorsoduro in the rain, looking for traces of the man who had lived there, had made the place into poetry.

At the end of our tour, we came to le Zattere, and the rain stopped, and that famous evening Dorsoduro light gave us an illuminated glimpse of what we came for, the Redentore as usual:

Isn't it funny how one person's nostalgia, one person's loss, can so quickly become another's?

All the new thinking is about loss.
In this it resembles all the old thinking.

1 comment:

Magpie said...

lovely photos - so very palpably Venice.