On the Painter Giorgio Morandi (1890 — 1964)
For John Olsen
Connoisseur of dust on jars, bottles, vases,
set in his room, into which there was strained
the redundant daylight of Italy.
Or he chose threadbare landscapes, through field glasses,
seen as though sunken in watery silence.
He read Leopardi’s “L ‘Infinito”
after mass, hung earth colours on the air
and found each fraction of space is momentous.
And in his sisters’ adjacent bedroom
they would hear him moving about. (All four
He sat with a failing offspring.
We’re distracted that he’d sided with Fascists.
Later we saw the objects he exalted
in supreme still life were all empty things.