Poetry is the birthright and obligation of all Venetians. Yet poetry cannot be composed without a calm mind. If one cannot enjoy a sunset without thinking of the next day's appointments, then the Muse will not come. The mind must be at rest and open to inspiration from the outside.

When one has a clear mind, the Muse - the Lady - will make her presence known. She may shake you awake in the middle of the night and demand that you write down what she has to say. Sometimes it will be an entire poem. Other times she will test and tease you by giving you only the first two lines.

Not everyone hears the Lady with perfect clarity as did Stuart Perkoff and Philomene Long. When the light of inspiration is shining like a laser, the poem is a thing of sublime beauty. Those Venetians of the past century - Tony Scibella, Frank Rios (still active), John Thomas, John Haag, Jimmy Morris, as well as Stuart and Philomene and many more - have been an inspiration to those of us now living and writing.

I want to acknowledge the debt I owe to Venice’s late Poet Laureate, Philomene Long. Her presence and her poetry led me to an epiphany about poetry. I hope something of that epiphany is found within this volume.

With these poems I am recapping a life lived within sound of the sea and in that peculiar place called Venice. Also included are poems that reflect our turbulent and troubled world at large. Many of these poems have appeared in the newspaper, the Free Venice Beachhead, others are just now seeing the light of day. One was written 50 years ago, most are much more recent.

I have combined them with photographs, mostly but not all of Venice, to provide a window to the world that inspired the poems. It is my hope that at least one of the following pages will cause someone to put pen to paper or sit down at a computer and create new verses, and thereby, enrich our world.

Jim Smith

Venice, California

June 2011

56 Poems and 47 original color photos of Venice, and around the world.

$14.99 for paperback (not currently available)

     (from Amazon) (from alibris)  (from ebay)

$4.99 for iBook enhanced book (Available on Apple iBooks)

You can also send a check or money order to Venice West Publishers, 2554 Lincoln Blvd. #110, Venice CA 90291

Also available at Beyond Baroque Bookstore, 681 Venice Blvd., Venice

and Small World Books, 1407 Ocean Front Walk, Venice