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Poetry Magnum Opus

Venezia, 1563


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When I dance along the cluttered quays

the whores fall babbling to their knees

and rinse their mouths of curses;

I rest content, may this you please,

aware of Nature’s slight reverses.


Ships ply daily across the ocean

to what harbour towns I have no notion,

and so I turn my eyes upon the houses;

I stand quite still, bereft of motion,

until a quiet feeling this arouses.


I have just passed these many days

observing the signals and secret ways

of the people I have come among;

I absorb their silent ayes and nays

as words of a hymn I have always sung.


I am the eyes and ears of our faraway king,

sent here to observe every man and thing

that may affect our nation;

I court success, of this I sing,

to fail would bring damnation.

Drown your sorrows in drink, by all means, but the real sorrows can swim

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Past-life hypno therapy? :)


Simple and direct, but still a tad bit mysterous. Love the inclusion of a date in the title.

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Googled the date and assume the poem relates to Counter Reformation and the Church of Rome. Date aside: the tone suggests spies and subterfuge from a time when Monarchs ruled supreme. G.

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Nothing so precise. I was aiming for High Renaissance before decline set in.

Drown your sorrows in drink, by all means, but the real sorrows can swim

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  • 3 weeks later...
David W. Parsley

Thanks for clearing that up, Brendan. I, too, was sure some explicitly historical figure was being channeled here. Your poem captures the high mindedness and ambition, the hope, of the period, while not succumbing to that vision entirely. Excellent tempering through a fine use of irony. I like the form, too, with feminine rhymes and other word-play inviting a slip from irony into outright hilarity.



- Dave

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