How would you describe a baroque convent?
Well you might lean towards physical description in painstaking detail. Or you might try a psychological approach contrasting spiritual and material values. Or you could go for shape, contour, colour etc...
Eugenio Montale goes for “foam and biscuit”, and already I think I can see this place. Although I didn't see the dachshund coming, until it came.
This was written in the 1930s (my translation, blasted down this evening):
The baroque convent
of foam and biscuit
blocked off sight of slow waters
and ready tables, scattered here and there
with leaves and ginger.
A swimmer emerged beneath
a raincloud of midges,
asked about our trip,
spoke long of his own from beyond the border.
He pointed to the bridge ahead that we could cross
(he informed us) with a single toll.
He waved his hand, sank,
was the current itself…
And in his place,
a happy dachshund
sprang frantically from a kennel,
a unique, fraternal voice in the humid air.
- Eugenio Montale