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.


No rains punctuated summer
just the intense stillness of light,
the plants grew despite dusty soil—
pungent rosemary, oleander, thyme
dominated the trance-like days;
one could still submerge in the pool
or break the blue of the sea by sail.

In the winter season we moved indoors
butting clouds of cigarette smoke
as we argued politics, love
affairs or the latest novel—
or simply gazed out wide windows
–our wine glasses at half-mast—
at imagined messages from the Med.


While his actors played at love
he must have pondered why the women hid behind veils
of justification; he could only drink down
the wine of wonder, aperitifs of frustration
which transposed into prose as fruitful as last season’s
vintage; he forged their meetings into tactile memories
and sailed for exile in an island’s solitariness.

She died but he went on
turning a platen that held life etched on both sides;
the warmth of Anatolian fires
the cold hard olives of a bardic world sustained him;
passages of insane impulse to new shores
were thrusts of power to him , perhaps a casual laugh
yet only momentary.

Now at silver time
amid slowly arching aqueducts built
on legend, he contemplates the pain of one final love
as we ask why he has not disheveled into dust;
the filthy wave of war
returns to him in reverie, in incantation
in pages molded by many tongues.

I imagine he reaches back to England
by ornate letters to draw philosophic voices
from an existence grown prophetically sterile;
yet when will he seek his mother home
before the last lapping of deep waters’ nurture,
when will he climb a Himalayan breast to seek the oracle
exclaiming: Your words are one, they speak for us all.

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

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