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Portovenere Poetry

…and now, fair Italy!
⁠Thou art the Garden of the World, the Home
⁠Of all Art yields, and Nature can decree;
⁠Even in thy desert, what is like to thee?
⁠Thy very weeds are beautiful—thy waste
⁠More rich than other climes’ fertility;
⁠Thy wreck a glory—and thy ruin graced
With an immaculate charm which cannot be defaced.

-Lord Byron (1818)

A little poetry from one of Portovenere’s most famous guests to open this post!

It’s been recorded that Byron swam across the Bay of Lerici from Portovenere to visit Percy and Mary Shelley… routinely. He would start his swim below the rock walls at the Church of Saint Peter at the town’s coastal point… not far from the setting of my latest miniature piece, “Through A Portovenere Portal”.

Along the promontory leading up to the Church are the remnants of the 12th defensive walls, complete with lookouts and portholes. I think I’ve looked through every one of them… twice. They draw me, and not unlike the numerous doors I photograph, my imagination tends to take over once I look through them and often out to sea – soldiers awaiting battles to come, wives awaiting fishermen to return home, dreamers plotting their escape to new worlds. Today the drama tends to revolve around honeymooners getting the perfect selfie!

However, I believe the spirit of the poet Byron was inhabiting me as I photographed and eagerly selected this piece of medieval wall to paint – “…thy ruin graced with an immaculate charm…cannot be defaced”. Its ruin is very beautiful to me, and no doubt to others who will arrive by the boatload to Portovenere… where even the weeds are beautiful!

#123 – Through A Portovenere Portal

2.5″ x 3.5″; ink and watercolour

(Available in my next release of originals, June 2, 2018)

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