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.


Some living thing turns
on the twilight grass
it expands and contracts,
the shadow of a Roman puppy
chasing itself.

From the cathedral steeple
across the square emerges
a squadron of bats.

As we lounge under an awning
warm rain splashes our ankles
laving fresh Vatican dust.

Coils of cooking odors
—lasagna, ziti, parmigiana—
surround us,
the Frascati never sipped better.

Lights blink on
in the distant Capitoline hills
forming ancient pathways.

Tomorrow we leave
for it is the nature
of tourists to be moving.

Perugia, Siena, Florence
lie to the north.


Smart to bring a cushion against the stone—
paper bag crammed with apricots, olives,
rough wine that does its job to arouse,
their odors rising to mix with the scent of acacias
which grow despite sandy soil outside the theater—
these people in the audience who come,
families with children, lovers, irate aged
as well as drinkers and dozers
cause as much drama as masks onstage—
sun works its way over the mountains
turning theater pillars hot then cold in shade
loping across the sky to start the slow
settling down much like a partridge on its eggs—
breeze ruffles a passive face to life,
now and again a roar as one wave hits
the beach just right to power an echo this far
which catches all ears, pulls out a gasp or two—
and the play goes on and on and on . . .


The day has been hot and still,
you paralyzed in
humid plastic, until
one breeze whisks over the bay
and into this room,
like someone handed you
a cold cup of water.
Suddenly it’s dusk
lights tick on in the harbor,
the cloth over the table
on the patio
riffles like a luffing sail,
glass grabs the cooling air,
china tinks, silver
grins old memories
and you’re ready to dance.

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

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