A sonnet for a Diva
Yesterday I received a postcard from Venice. I never got to Venice, or Paris, or Madrid, though I had planned to - many years ago. I only got as far as Fiji and the South Pacific. However, after all the novels, films and travel pictures, I feel I've been there.
I wrote this sonnet one day after Fay White, a songwriter and singer, told us a story about an opera singer in Venice. It was the kind of poem that just wrote itself and I didn't have to change many words at all. Other times writing is painstakingly slow.
I had in mind the kind of music in the 1981 French film 'Diva' and have read this poem with a background of an aria from La Wally.
The gleaming vortex of water is my nightmare.
I lean from palazzo windows, pain in flood,
intent upon another death in Venice and dare
the Bridge of Sighs to be marbled in my blood.
The pin pricks of stars reflect, a prelude
not a finale, as the sky fates so amaze.
An aria I’ll sing, with a shift in mood.
Sounds resonate into canals and courtyard haze
and one by one gondoliers gather in their way
until there’s a listening, then a sudden applause.
I change my intention, then early next day
a bouquet and basket are placed near my doors.
A note, ‘Grazie Diva, here’s roses and wine
for our beloved, the bearers of fire divine.’