I thought I wasn't going to be able to write a poem for the Skyhooks meeting tonight, what with all the tax problems and school stress and I don't know what all. But I sat down a half hour before the meeting and the muse whispered another poem about Venice into my waiting ear. The metaphorical shipbuilding refers to an event in Venetian history in which a visiting ambassador was shown how the assembly-line work in the Arsenal could produce a grand, fierce, Venetian war galley in a single day, from boards to boat.
LIKE YOU, VENICE
I once ruled my corner of the earth
showing ambassadors of larger powers
that I could build and furnish fighting ships
in less time than they took to write a letter home
and now I seek no greater later years than yours --
filled with tourists weak with admiration
at my ancient spirit, picturesque in ruin,
but still working, still living, still enjoying
every morsel even as I slip into the sea.
(c) Kake Huck 2014