November Ekphrastic Challenge: Day 11

For Paul Brookes’ challenge, a poem inspired by Terry Chipp’s painting, Evening canal.

TC11 Evening canal


Sighs of longing fill the airport lounge,
enticed by images unpeopled,
the idyll in their silence,
architectural lines of stone rising from water
or empty piazze, parklands scattered with birds,
yet they draw such crowds,
the world is sinking beneath their weight.

The lines of summer migrants gather, swarm,
flying hither and yon to see what cannot be seen
beneath the crawling locust-skin
of crunching, clacking, insect-clicking hordes.

If stillness ever fell, would they listen,
would they hear the voice that asks, why?

Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

16 thoughts on “November Ekphrastic Challenge: Day 11”

  1. I understand, but I am also glad I got to see Venice. And I was definitely a tourist, since I was there with my daughter and her Latin teacher and other students–but I did get to see and appreciate the quiet beauty, too.

    1. It’s a tough one, and the problem is the numbers. With Venice the real plague is the cruise ships that destroy the environment, stir up the lagoon and damage the structure of the buildings, and off load thousands of tourists who are just going to be herded around mindlessly. I don’t know that it’s possible to visit some places any more. Unless you enjoy taking photos of other tourists.

      1. Mass tourism has been increasing exponentially for years now. Twenty years ago when we lived in Paris, I used to wander in and out of the Pompidou Centre and the permanent collection several times a week. never had to queue up to get in or use the escalators or the library. It’s been years since they started limiting the numbers allowed inside for security reasons and because the escalators broke from overuse. The library is off limits altogether now.

    1. The last time I went anywhere which is 20 years since, tourism was confined to the main high spots in places like Florence and Paris. Anywhere that didn’t have trinket boutiques was completely empty. Commerce has filled in all the gaps now, so nowhere is without its ‘attraction’.

      1. It’s a beast that feeds on itself. Tourists lead to people setting up restaurants, commerces hotels entertainments to make money out of them, create (low paid) employment, close businesses with more useful but less un-glitzy appearance, turn cities over to commerce linked to tourism, when tourists stay at home we throw up our hands in horror and shout, but the jobs!

      2. Ideally many of the jobs associated with providing a good time for visitors would be recycled into more useful occupations. God knows there are plenty of those, but it needs massive investment and very strong (if not coercive) leadership.

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