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  • Scott Williamson

Godzilla & the Gondola (30/30 Project)

Click here to check out my poetry and Tupelo Press's 30/30 Project, where a handful of poets write a poem a day for 30 days and try to help a great independent press raise much-needed funds. Below is my poem for Day 6, followed by brief notes on its origins. Please let me know what you think, and thanks for reading!

Godzilla meets the Gondola

The Grand Canal

of Venice and

Tokyo’s Sumida River

meet in my

dream and an

awesome Lake Dragon

battles an Epic

Gondolier in a

fierce Vulcan-forged

Water Chariot. I

freeze like a

saucer-eyed child

behind a windowpane

looking out at two

Superheroes battling in

his own front yard

[Venice – Princeton | July – December, 2016]


This poem was inspired by a conflation of dreams I had; one earlier this summer, in between visiting Tokyo and Venice, and a vivid, chthonic dream I hope never to forget from a summer several years ago in the Mediterranean, passing through the mythic “Strait of Messina” while on a concert tour between Rome and Venice.

The connection of the Gondola to the Lake Dragon (mist and mystery are signatures of Venice with its labyrinthine canals and lagoons) was first brought to my attention by an esoteric travel guide to the city called Secret Venice. On my previous two brief visits to Venice, I had not appreciated how prevalent the motif of St George and the Dragon was throughout “the most serene Republic” (La Serenissima: the poetic nickname of Venice is one of the leitmotifs of Britten’s operatic version of Mann’s Death in Venice).

When I was a young child of 8 or so, my father arranged for a few of his colleagues to wear Stars Wars costumes, and thus I had a light-saber battle with Darth Vader in my front yard for my birthday…

[The images are, from top to bottom: an iPhone photo I took of a Lake Dragon marker in Japan, June 2016; a downloaded image of an Italy map highlighting the Strait of Messina, the mythic site of Homer's Scylla and Charybdis, between the "toe" and Sicily; Turner's masterpiece "Approach to Venice", 1844.]

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