Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Poem: While Walking in The Venice Fish Market

While Walking in The Venice Fish Market

At seven in the morning, they are there,
their wares already on the table, over ice,
fresh fish from the black sea,
scallops plucked early in the morning,
displayed like art,

octopus, splayed and glistening,
picked over by housewives and chefs,
gawked at by tourists like yourself,
unaccustomed as you are, so far in the mountains
to seeing sea life quite so alive,

so.... real, writhing in the cool morning air,
so fresh there is no smell, just beauty and promise,
unaware that that very night they will rest
on a table in a sidewalk cafe,and you marvel
in a city and place that makes beauty

even of this simple thing,
a market table, or vegetables on a stand,
where the basic elements of life
shout with joy and light and color, and you wonder
at how you have lived so long

in a place of heaviness and sepia light
and never noticed.


One of the things I was unprepared for when I was in Italy was the food. I thought I knew what Italian food was and I could not have been more wrong. The food there was invariably light and fresh, and night after night I lingered over multiple courses of simple, yet strikingly tasty faire. Every evening's' dinner was something to celebrate. That's not hyperbole, it's fact. The experience has changed how I view food, and what I want in a great meal, or even a simple meal.

Those of you who have been to that part of the world know (and I have heard from enough of you to know many of you have) that part of the reason the food is so good is the freshness of it.

These pictures show the fish market in Venice. Now, we have fresh markets in Virginia and Vermont as well, but typically they are a one day a week affair, where we gather a few vegetables and perhaps some meat, to carry us for a week, while in Venice and other places they are daily markets, and each day people gather their food for the night ahead. There IS a difference and even this long time junk food junkie has to admit, the difference is a marvelous thing.

I feel in love with the food, and with the beauty of the markets, and somehow, I knew a poem or few would emerge from the day spent in and out of them. As always, you can click on the images above and below for a larger version.



Leonora said...

Oh, those Italians! This man looks like one of my Uncle Tonys. I have three Uncle Tonys and two cousin Tonys. :)

Derrick said...

Great poem, Tom, particularly those last few lines. I suppose food is a way of life and the Italians know how to live! Fish markets, however, can quickly lose their allure as the day warms! :0)

Anil P said...

Liked the poem. Everyday fish markets are the same all over the world for the hustle and bustle. Back here, our teachers would admonish us with "I cannot have a fish market going on here" whn we would get too noisy in the classrooms.

Nothing like fresh food. To many back here, the refrigerators are barely stocked, except maybe for an emergency. Most people choose to walk down to the daily vegetable market for fresh produce.

And like you so rightly said, the food tastes infinitely better.

FireLight said...

What an enchanting tour! Next to the sheer beauty of the place, it is the fresh seafood markets I enjoy along the Gulf.
And yes...the poems had to rise out of this little tour!