On Venice Lido

Cargo ships and tankers
bound for Mestre and Trieste
are now lined up in queues
on the Lido's long horizon
where Thomas Mann's
von Aschenbach
once fondly gazed
upon his handsome hero
the young and noble Tadzio
in his Death in Venice novelette
although today
I have to say there's really not
that much to see
aside the lines
of monochrome ships
parked in the haze
or the high up clock
of Hotel des Baines.

The wind frayed sand
revealed pre-season plethora
of plastic and polystyrene.
Thermovisco nuzzled
Suco e Polpa Pesca.
A pigeon pair inspected
an unzipped can
Stolichno Bock Beer
in a rag of net
where a bulb
washed up
with glass unbroken.

There was the occasional squawk
of a gull out at sea.

Byron's Mediterranee
Deoderante had corroded
at the collar. Do not expose
to naked flame I read. And
there half buried
the Debica Vivo Radial
which appeared to be
in good condition
like the solitary pickled onion
and the welding glasses
in Day-Glo orange.

A dog floated by face down
smooth and slick as a seal.

On the long horizon nothing was moving.

Bird spotting in Scotland

On Mull and the Ardnamurchan
spotted included these and we crossed them off -
golden eagles and white tailed eagles
oyster catchers and sandpipers
cormorants and herons
plus a probable rail
and a possible crake
not crossed off

In the evening the short eared owl
crossed off

At sunset's last blink we sat on the grass
under the landmark lighthouse and prayed
and craned for a magical moment
perhaps the flash of a dolphin
airborne through the silver sea

A troop landed -
cheerful in olive green waterproofs
with flashlights and headlamps
high-tech field glasses
and night-vision sights
badly packed rucksacks
and reams of flapping paper
fishy silhouettes
they were loud and proud
about the day's conquests
so many dolphins
so many humpback whales
so many basking sharks
all spotted

So now we're rugged up
in the car
with our boiled egg sandwiches
- the crake firmly crossed off

As for the rail -
we've gone off it

5 o'clock in the morning song

Jazz me if you can
Sang Jandl Ernst; and so I shall
For language-freedom's sake -
Though not in spreaky vocalstump
Foldsold to blood or concrete sound
Of schtzngrmm
Or Deutschland Deutschland Über Alles
Earwitnessed by the poet
In Heldenplatz in '38.
One voice rang free; and it seemed
To me that it was jazz
That sang above Mein Kampf and
A hundred thousand arms aslant
As a winter driven rain.