Lament of Maria Maresciallo at the funeral of Veronica Franco. A Poem By Marie Marshall

I recall our hand-signs in carnival,
the silver rings on your white gloves,
your fingers making to me –
you are daytime, Wooden Mary,
these are evening and small hours.
That was your name for me, and with it
you hurled stones and rotten fruit
when our friendship became tedious;
but at other times you rested your head
against my shoulder and sighed,
often a lover’s name, a Saint’s name,
but still it was I who felt your sacred breath,
its scented play on my cheek.
Tintoretto and Titian worshipped you, you know,
and your lover the Saint, he adored you;
but I was your sister, the only initiate of Berenice,
I wandered your depth and breadth, nave and aisle,
danced in your wake, walking on water by your magic,
swam in your subtle flow, submerged, miraculous;
I traced the letters of
A M O R E in the air
while you were lost and looking away, inspired,
made kisses inside my mask, daydreamed of you.
A single
balotina, a single mourner,
her hand resting on your coffin
where the wreck of your beauty is caught,
I look around, above – the planes still fly,
vaporetto is full of Japanese,
the world somehow has not stopped,
and under my breath I say:

Ite, pensier fallaci e vana spene… *
Your house has fallen, the Ca’ Franco overthrown,
in secret it has crumbled away, it is dust,
forgotten, your pages have been torn from you,
ripped from your gold-chased spine,
the book of your life is defaced;
be written on me still, Veronica –
while I live let them read you in my plain face,
all the words of love, the true looks,
the eyes behind the mask
, verità;
and when a flourish sets the fine to me,
let me close and lie beside you,
book to neglected book, closer in this finality
than we have been in life.

* Editor’s Note: Leave me, foolish ideas and useless hopes
attributed to the sonnet of Veronica Franco/or Veronica Gambara.
Marie Marshall
Marie Marshall is an Anglo-Scottish author, poet and editor. Her first collection of poems, Naked in the Sea, was published in 2010 and reviewed in Sonnetto Poesia that same year, and her second collection, I am not a fish, in 2013. Since 2005 she has published over two hundred poems, mainly in magazines and anthologies, but the most extraordinary places in which a poem of hers has appeared include on the wall of a café in Wales, and etched into an African drum at the New Orleans Museum of Art. Her first novel, Lupa, was published in 2012. She is well-known in Scotland for her macabre short stories. Her web site can be found at Of writing poetry and sonnets she says, “I did not start writing until 2004, so I am very much a twenty-first century writer. I write anything, any kind of poetry that I feel the urge to tackle ― sonnets included.”
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