Big Dog

Castelveccio

Can Grande translates as “Big Dog”.  Interesting name for the Scaliger family who ruled Verona with an iron fist in the middle ages.  Can Grande II della Scala was also nicknamed Can Rabbioso or “The Rabid Dog”.

It was he who built Castelveccio and the Castelveccio bridge to protect himself and his family from the people he exploited so heavily that they fell into penury.  The castle turned out to be a wasted effort because in classic Italian style Can Grande found his end at the point of his brothers knife.

How much you can learn from an obscure reference in a line of a poem.  What did we ever do before Google?  Happy Birthday Richard Aldington who did his own “googling” in the British Museum.

 

In the British Museum; by Richard Aldington

I turn the page and read:
“I dream of silent verses where the rhyme
glides noiseless as an oar.”
The heavy musty air, the black desks,
the bent heads and the rustling noises
in the great dome
vanish …
and
the sun hangs in the cobalt-blue sky,
the boat drifts over the lake shallows,
the fishes skim like umber shades through the undulating weeds,
the oleanders drop their rosy petals on the lawns,
and the swallows dive and swirl and whistle
about the cleft battlements of Can Grande’s castle…

Gondola

Andreas von Google

Andreas

This time of year always reminds me of Andreas.  When the weather is hot and muggy I remember the days in Clontarf when the kids had inflatable pools in the gardens.  I also remember the nights, drinking beer on the deck, or shooting water pistols at each other over the hedge.

It was in Clontarf, probably around 1999, I was searching for something on my PC and Andreas saw I was using the Webcrawler browser.  He nudged me aside and said, “here, there is this new search engine that is really good.”

It was Google.

I used it to find this poem.

 

Dirge without music; by Edna St. Vincent Millay

I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned
with lilies and with laurel they go but I am not resigned.

Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
a formula, a phrase remains, but the best is lost.

The answers quick and keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love,
they are gone. They are gone to feed the roses. Elegant and curled
is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know. But I do not approve.
More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.

Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.