Ray Greenblatt

Ray Greenblatt

Ray Greenblatt has lived in New England, the West Indies, and along the Eastern Shore. He has written short stories, essays, and poetry which have been published across the U.S. in periodicals as diverse as America, English Journal, and Joseph Conrad Today.

He was nominated for the Pushcart Prize and won the Anthony Byrne Prize. He was also the editor of the magazine General Eclectic. A teacher for many years Ray Greenblatt has taught writing in the Philadelphia Writers Conference as well as spoken at the John Steinbeck Festival in Salinas, California.


I have rebuilt the Temple to Poseidon
          at Sounion
          in my mind’s eye,
now each column standing tall and golden,
devotees coming and going
priests in shadows of the interior.

I have seen Artemis dancing
in the sandy courtyard
of this humble taverna,
her hair in black ringlets
her chiton swaying about her
no thicker than mist.

Seated at this table
          in the warm air
feeling ancient wind blown in from the sea
local fish steaming before me
and a wine-dark glass
I sense the past and present merge.


They found a broken-down chateau
in the days it could be afforded.

She worked with driftwood,
soon kids bringing her pieces
as offerings to a newly arrived goddess
her hair streaming sunlight
or silvered by the moon;
three-dimensional wooden murals
hug along walls until eyes
of the knowing took pieces away
when the artists could pause
to speckle and stucco another room.

He in his isolation
of concentration
in holey shirt and ragged shorts
scoured the shore for rare glass
smoothed by tide and time;
from which he constructed
prancing unicorns
grinning toothy troglodytes
lurching dinosaurs
bright and gleaming.

In those days the wine
was fine and cheap
they often danced till dawn,
but often as artists do
as the decade wore down
—their most fruitful time—
they went their ways
never solitary for long.


          To walk barefoot across the cool
terrazzo floor was sensual.
The free-standing silk screen
we had proudly made
in our crude fashion
ruffled like a sailboat
gently coming about.
Theo, the local mutt
loved by us all, dug himself
deeper into the dirt
to continue his nap.
The dry heat was hypnotic
every day we were here.
          The fifty mile view down the straits
was as clear as the finest
calibrated camera.
We expected to spot
at least a trireme
or Agamemnon’s fleet
heading to the southeast.
Constantly we would nod off
over a glass of ouzo,
a wedge of feta,
with unrealized smiles.
This setting was truly
a bewitched island
we felt we could never leave.

For other contributions by Ray Greenblatt, please follow the links below:

Poetry in this post: © Ray Greenblatt
Published with the permission of Ray Greenblatt