On the Painter Giorgio Morandi (1890 — 1964)
For John Olsen
Connoisseur of dust on jars, bottles, vases,
stood in his room, into which there was strained
the redundance of daylight of Italy.
Or he chose threadbare landscapes, through field glasses,
seen as if sunk in a 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
were childless) 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.