No Hurry to Leave
The gas lights are lit at dusk, like magic,
and the ghetto sidewalks ooze romance.
Stand still and you will hear the music
waft out of the trattoria just down the sidewalk.
You are the only tourist. You can tell
by the looks as you enter, not hostile
but curious, as if they thought themselves
impervious, or perhaps invisible.
The looks last but a moment,
and conversation takes over the room once again
and it is you who have become invisible,
well fed, well cared for, maybe a subject
for their conversation, but who can tell –
their language is not your own
and the course you took allows you to read menus
but not to hear at the speed of conversation.
No matter. You feel home here
where the canal slides past your table
and the gas light is just enough.
For them it is home. For you it is home too,
a home you feel you were born for,
relaxed among strangers. A tourist who longs
to be much more. Content and at ease,
in no hurry to leave.
About this poem
Most people, by the end of their vacations, are ready to go home. I am not one of those. I never have been.
For those who have not explored Venice, the ghetto is an area of Venice where the Jews were forced to live. Today, it is still the center of Jewish life in the city, and it is quiet, not the tourist magnet that the rest of the city tends to be. But it has a charm all of its own and I have spent a couple of days walking the area, and a couple of fine meals well out of the tourist’s paths.
I yearn to go back. Some day, I will.
It’s the difference between being a tourist and a traveller. You, I know, are a traveller.