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As the resident poet at EcoHealth Alliance, my verse finds inspiration these days in the spectre of global pandemics. At LMU Munich's Amerika-Institut, where I tutor composition and poetics, I'm anatomizing the sonnets of E. A. Robinson for my dissertation. I also teach at Münchner Volkshochschule and Amerikahaus.

20150529

Venice

from Childe Harold's Pilgrimage

    by Lord Byron

    I stood in Venice, on the Bridge of Sighs,
    A palace and a prison on each hand:
    I saw from out the wave her structures rise
    As from the stroke of the enchanter’s wand:
    A thousand years their cloudy wings expand
    Around me, and a dying Glory smiles
    O’er the far times, when many a subject land
    Looked to the wingéd Lion’s marble piles,
    Where Venice sate in state, throned on her hundred isles!

    She looks a sea Cybele, fresh from ocean,
    Rising with her tiara of proud towers
    At airy distance, with majestic motion,
    A ruler of the waters and their powers:
    And such she was--her daughters had their dowers
    From spoils of nations, and the exhaustless East
    Poured in her lap all gems in sparkling showers:
    In purple was she robed, and of her feast
    Monarchs partook, and deemed their dignity increased.

    In Venice Tasso’s echoes are no more,
    And silent rows the songless gondolier;
    Her palaces are crumbling to the shore,
    And music meets not always now the ear:
    Those days are gone--but Beauty still is here;
    States fall, arts fade--but Nature doth not die,
    Nor yet forget how Venice once was dear,
    The pleasant place of all festivity,
    The revel of the earth, the masque of Italy!

    Note:  A recitation can be heard here.

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