Thursday, 24 January 2013

Zanzotto: Online



Old man, still asthmatic?
talks at his kitchen table

Immersion in air of Veneto
eyes concentrated on thought

5 minutes 27 seconds of film
kicks in at the click of the Pointer

Poppies profusion of sanguinity
he says, our own nature advances where?  

Or the 1 hour 25 minutes 7 seconds
behind bird-like microphones

Multiplicity is a romance,
he says, our words turn into dream moments

Set between at table literary ladies
hauteur rhymes with auteur

But he reaches unassumingly
for words to transfix wounded landscape

One what is one what is one
to do, he says, out here in the marches?

His eyes don’t care for the lens
don’t see us at cable-end years apart

We want more signs but see instead
his eyes thinking as he speaks of roads

Of another war, the roads divide,
he says, the present is made of remembers

Or this video 18 minutes
younger in black and white

Reading in the open air of beauty
and beauty’s checks and balances

His hair gets blown about
a slight breeze coming from the alps

It is too exhausting
his concentrated Italian, his arcane jokes

Breathing quietly before Microsoft
we lose concentration

Wonder what it was got lost in translation
at a loss as to what to leave in Comments

Or watch Treviso church semi-quiet in sunlight
grieving widow? Perplexed publishers?

Roman robes go through their motions
on Mute the priest says the right things

Bustle of Fiats outside on a new day
that is an old film

Old ago as the year before last
12 minutes 20 seconds

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Zanzotto: Graphemes


Desire asserts letters against the sky
desperate for direction, to direct

Epsilon and Company haunt space
refigure buildings, make big claims

Barricade babel from incomprehension
outward facing they keep eyes appealing

Never an alphabet in sequence
but the rummage of desire and law

Image of proud grammars
small mark-particles of survival

From western plains and southern waters
the air enlivens

Refreshes cleanses clears
this city with a name and genome

Even the miles of speckled adverts
speculations, spectacular particulars

Winds past the minitalks of say
hoardings streetsigns shopping centres

Wind of soft insistence,
tender to prodding plants and water surfaces

Processes the oxygen eating
prolongs preserves private breath

Renders lettering frail
inconsequential amidst the progress of seasons

Only it is human activity elevates
million million letters to themselves alone

Emphasis dried in the sun
waiting for rain to turn words pastel

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Zanzotto: Bushfire


The will-it won’t-it by January
sunrise too hot, catch too easily

Ground litter rushes this way and that
air lifts taking branches dust paper

Language heightens the preliminaries
tinder dry will be flying ember

Ozone hole morphs into heat dome
denial feeds what cannot be denied

Watchers try to wait it out easy
measure the day with their fire plan

Sublunar we mark the boundaries
clear the property of native refuse

Property, the invisible lines
around our landed wishes

It is burnt gumleaves come first
flat brown clouds above the hills

Flying flowing the immaterial flames
will turn dark every seed-grown material

Seed cases decades buried
old grenades ready to explode

But will it come and where
unturned topsoil takes the heat

Fuel load waits, unmoving grasses
could spark here, or somewhere

Will touch off across the fences,
from gullies will trickle small burns

Radio starts up non-stop service
containment lines and no go roads

But will it? Birds soft sound the air
keep close to water on what-if days

Monsoon an abstract
lightning or arsonists about the edges

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Zanzotto: Embankments



Train gone the fennel stalks resume

quiet a wind-light scent aniseed



Stalk levels reach up steep inclines their hold

and force repeating each summertime



Edwardian stones impacted deep

surface below sleepers, mute tangible scatter



Or from acacia and peppercorn humus

amidst paper mulch and refuse



Little grasses spiky or downy

splurge green evidence



Where they cannot be picked

where they field flowers go



Ants from hideouts file through stems

slow some, large with food specks



Seed-headed fennel and ivy

and a tangle of purple passion flowers



In breeze silence, unattended but for

an old Italian man with secateurs



I sometimes think of what he might say

to so much profusion



On the vacant declines of Westgarth-Richmond

i.e. what might I say?



And here it comes the next one

passengers at windows blank with ipods



Steel wheels gently press down rails

the immemorial roar eleven seconds

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Zanzotto: Occupations


To read him say he wipes the window
into childhood and sees its workers

Artisans at Veneto doorways
hewers of wood and grinders of knives

Is to wipe across the winter window
and watch trades as they went:

Milkman, leave those bottles on the footpath
catch up with your clink-clink horse cart

Garbage man, empty the stinking bins
from the shoulder, set down with grace

Butcher, amidst sawdust air, sever the offal
slice the lines accurately for hours

Ironmonger, lift the weight and feel
the time it will take for a hard sale

Blacksmith, fashion more glowing horseshoes
in the shed behind the bowsers

Knitters, by day and night make
home comfort go full length

He helps us see work without sentiment
labour worth the years it takes

Who are we, tied to the end of cables
our income a set of numbers in a vault?

And what are our chances of breakthrough
to an arcadia where task is meaning?

Even so, to read him is to set it down
the memory others call oral history

Or quaint, as if acquaintances were nice
while at the window they are true enough

Faces and names in a not distant place
a district of our own survivals

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Zanzotto: Treviso


Once again in the zizzy dialect
he set out to park reality in our minds

The stone houses of Treviso
ancient pavings in summer heat

Here the words track earth change
all the way to the Geiger levels

Barely able to believe
it is coming to an end already

Down where the rootworks feed
grasses picking their moment to gush

The radio waves muzzy and chattering
their once in lifetime insistences

We return to it his intuitions
that in his way mutated into instructions

Invitations  invasions intimations
that nature (word overused) gets us in turn

Once again here in the surety
language offers he gets us

For whom Treviso is a day trip
farmlands fallen castles canals

More so where we are now this instant
listening not only to solitary cicadas

Or jazz from an outmoded sound machine
in antipodean backyards at dusk

Questions about ends and starts
all our best laid designs

Are playing their tricks in his rhetoric
it is almost unbelievable

See that bullock shape of Treviso
he lived inside full time all its myriad tangle

Lines now we return to in modest imprints
work through via online Englishings