When Boston was Venice

a c goodwin | boston harbour i

click painting for details

Each of us was handed a calendar page at the writing group meeting the other day. ‘Look at yours for two minutes,’ was the instruction, ‘and then write whatever comes into your head.’ So I looked – and could see and hear the sights and sounds of sunny Venice – and the writing that flowed is hereunder.

But I was fascinated by the origins of the unsigned work – and that led me, wonder of wonders, to Google’s extraordinary reverse image search which involved a quick iPad snap of the page, uploading that to the site, and hey presto, turns out that this fine work (dated around 1915) is by American artist Arthur Clifton Goodwin (click for Pinterest page), 1864-1929, and is of T wharf in Boston Harbour, not Venice! Art transcends mere geographical boundaries! And yes, there’s another parable in there somewhere. Anyway, here’s what came out of the quick exercise, unedited, penned in about 5 minutes …

Brushmarks for Venezia

The Saturday boy at the
poshest café in Venice
sweeps the autumn leaves
into a corner of St Mark’s Square

Morning mist, now largely
dispersed, still hangs present
enough to filter the spectrum
over the Grand Canal upon which
gondoliers and industrial
boatmen and awestruck
travellers jostle and call

Thea is enthralled and in love –
already writing of romance
beneath the Doge’s Palace in her
heart and head –

‘Io parlo l’italiano molto bene!’

– and Julian aspires to
owning a gondolier’s hat
and marrying Thea at the
earliest opportunity

and returning here in
September and October
for the rest of their days

Simon Marsh

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