When walking in the streets of Venice

I met His Darkness cloaked and masked

Quietly he glided past me

Cold, like late November frost

Trailing in his wake

I turned around and followed

Entranced and captured in his silence

He led me deep into the maze

Of dark cobblestone alleys

Deep in shadow was our journey

Until we came upon a door

Open in a tall façade,

A palace old and noble

Into a place – so dark! – we entered

Through hallways candle-lit

On carpets trimmed with gold we glided

Twixt wooden panelled walls

A room we entered then

The walls were covered in black velvet

A breeze like cold hands touched my skin

A single candle lit the gloom

Distant sighing voices near me, closer –

Closer – took hold of my mind

I felt my body become numb

And paralysed and cold

A piercing scream cut through

The frozen complete silence

Fear gripped my frozen heart

Black velvet walls turned icy gray

Like swirling trails of freezing vapour

Clammy hands of ghastly spirits

Gripped my arm, my neck and back

As if to make me merge with them

Silence wrapped around me

Wakes me with a start

I sit in a brand new office

The walls are off-white panels

My step upon the carpet's muffled

No echo as I clap my hand

My breath is heavy, stifled

And I feel far too calm

When finally I find the exit

It takes me straight into the street

I'm swallowed by a throng of people

wearing their lightest summer clothes

When walking in the streets of Venice

Around me there are tourists

Children chasing dirty pigeons

San Marco waiters serving coffee

Boats crossing the lagoon

I take in the sights and wonders

Your hand in mine, I smile

And as I glance over my shoulder –

I catch a glint behind those pillars

And as if waking from the dream

Just then: I sense the cold among the shadows

Know I will never be alone

When walking in the streets of Venice