Venice the City of Water

Dr. Sunil Deepak, 25 March 2021

Chiara Carminati is an Italian poet, translator and author of children's books. On 21st March, it was the World Poetry Day. To celebrate it, our city Schio promoted "Poetry gifts" by sharing poems through some WhatsApp groups. I am part of a local reading group called Lettori in Circolo (Readers in a Circle), which took part in this initiative. Thus, I received some poems, which included one of Carminati's poems called, "A Venezia" (In Venice).

A Poem forVenice, Italy - Image by Sunil Deepak

This brief post is about Carminati's poem. I share my translation of this poem and a few thoughts about the feelings it evoked in me. This year (2021) is 1600th anniversary of the foundation of Venice in 421 CE. Thus, this post is dedicated to this beautiful floating town which I love to visit and which is not very far from Schio.

"A Venezia" - A Poem by Chiara Carminati

Nella città d’acqua, in lontananza

paiono pennelli sottili

le punte dei campanili.

Così ciotole di un pittore

rovesciate con eleganza

sono le cupole delle chiese

nella città d’acqua, in lontananza.

Meaning of the Poem: It is a short and sweet poem. I am not a poet and not a proper translator, however I wanted to share it.

In the city of water, in the distance

looking like thin brushes

the tips of the bell-towers.

As the painter's bowls

overturned elegantly

are the domes of churches

in the city of water, in the distance.

Feelings Evoked by This Poem

Venice is usually full of tourists. There are times when the crowds are so thick that it is difficult to find a quiet place where you can soak in the quiet atmosphere of this magical town. To experience the quiet and the almost surreal beauty of Venice you need to visit it in autumn or winter. I liked this poem because it captures that special feeling of Venice on a quiet foggy morning.

Venice is full of artists and painters - people who sit on the banks of canals with their sketch books and easels, intent on drawing and painting, while others, holding stacks of paintings look for tourists to sell them. This poem alludes to all of them by looking at the floating city as the working instruments of a water-colour painter - its bell-towers as brushes and its church-domes reflected in the waters as overturned bowls of colours.

Conclusions

I usually avoid reading poems in Italian - I have difficulties in appreciating them most of the time, probably because reading and feeling the emotions of poems requires a different kind of relationship with their language. For the same reason, I have difficulties in appreciating English poems. I can appreciate them intellectually but I don't have the emotional connection with them - for that, I need my poems to be in Hindi or Urdu. However, occasionally I come across poems like this one by Chiara Carminati which connects with something deeper inside me and creates magic.

A Poem forVenice, Italy - Image by Sunil Deepak

If you understand Italian and want to read more poems which were shared during our "Poetry Gifts" initiative, you can find them at the Leggere a Schio blog managed by our local library.

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Dr Sunil Deepak
Schio (VI), Italy

Email: sunil.deepak(at)gmail.com