Irish, French, and Italian Sketches in Poems
European Seacoast Poems
Is Ireland still part of England?
Irish and French and Italian Poems
Crossing the Rope Bridge
at Carrick-a-Rede (Ireland)
We walk along the cliffs
above the crashing sea far
below as gulls and gannets
circle above in cloudy skies,
and then we descend the
steps far down to a rickety
rope bridge eighty feet above
a gap where salmon swim
between the Irish mainland
and a lone offshore island laced
with windswept flowers and heather.
As we stand and stare at the waves,
our rope bridge begins to sway
in forceful gusts of wind forcing
us to quick retreat on solid land.
Point au Raz (France)
Out here on the western most
tip of France, we perch ourselves
high on a mossy rock to watch
the surf come and pound the cliffs
and send forth sheets of spray
ever skyward toward the blazing
and hot sun as if to extinguish it.
Sea gulls laugh at our bemusement
as they flap their wings, distancing
themselves and leaving us all
alone to our own flights of thought.
Carrick-a-Rede is in northern Antrim and Pointe au Raz is the western-most point of France.
Canaleto's Painting Of a Venetian Scene
I stand and stare at a framed painting
of Giovanni Antonio Canaletto's Piazza
San Marco to recall our own Venetian
days of riding the vaporetto on the
Grand Canal, under an orange ball of
sun, to land at Saint Mark's Square and
walk past swarms of pigeons as we enter
the ancient, aging, crumbling basilica
and approach the sarcophagus of gospel
writer Saint Mark placed here, after hundreds
of years in Egypt, in his final resting place
under four grand domes and a campanile
rising to the sky where we emerge into a
bright sun and amble along the winding
Venetian streets framed with canals gleaming
in the sun and hundreds of humans and pigeons.
© 2011 Richard Francis Fleck