Steven Grieco, bilingual Swiss-Italian-American poet, lives between Rome, Florence, Koronisia (Epirus, Greece) and Jaipur, in Rajasthan. Worked 7 years as a farmer in Tuscany, producing wine, oil and medicinal herbs. A son born in Florence, a daughter in Arta (Greece).
His poetry collection Maschere d’oro (Golden Masks), came out with Biblioteca Cominiana in 1997. Publishes poems in Indian and Italian reviews. Lately, on RAI 24 News – Il Blog di L. Sorrentino, and in Asymptote. Contributes to the hindi-language review Samas, based in Bhopal, and the Italian journal Zeta, published by Campanotto Editore, Udine.
Some readings: Sahitya Akademi, Delhi 2005; Mirza Ghalib’s ghazals (co-translated with Ashok Vajpeyi) at the Italian Embassy Culture Institute, Delhi, 2006. Later published in Pagine. Together with a Tokyo scholar, he is presently working on a selection of wakas in English and Italian. His long narration in Italian, Agorafilia, will soon appear with Aliberti Editore, Rome.
A tern, waxing and
waning down the coastline, in
soundless jagged flight
void wish, full and round
floats over the waves –
white surf, obscure undertow
flush out of the collapsed sands
dead juniper trunk,
black hook in the light:
after last night’s churned-up seas
this brilliant morning
Uccellina beach, Grosseto, 2012
South wind in Koronisia
Dawn – sea and land wild everywhere
a burden of clouds skyward
pouring down in fits and starts
I wake to a November day
to burning lights in the morning
to the damp that soaks shivering into the body
The window hushed: a known,
and the wind coming in gusts: it, too,
I go out, stand on the balcony,
look and think
and, strangely, the whole Gulf seems caressed
by a wonderful softness
I’ve come again to these hypnotic waters,
the blue headlands
and mountains in smoky haze
and met those I’d not seen in so long
the long abandoned road
through bowing reeds to the sea,
again stepped into dark interiors
in the blinding noon hour
in this continuous horizon of waterfronts
and deserted coffee shops
and jobless men sitting outside
at tables like waiting poets,
that I’d come to meet the same figures
crowding the hidden mirror of my night.
Yet even this is false,
as if our hovering dangerously
between identity and its delusion
split forever between this and that:
as if our understanding, once formed
(and trapping all colour in blue)
could never again be broken,
never again transfigured.
TO MARC, LEAVING FOR SWEDEN
No, not fragments of heaven
have fallen down here.
The summer morning is still,
a square of sunlight and its giant
shadow cross the rumpled bed
(just now left behind).
As my thoughts follow you
down the stairwell,
out the front door and on
where the word “son” blurs
in the spreading swarm of humanity,
I see, coming down a tree-lined road,
one whose smiling eyes
speak these things.
You are not here,
and have always known it:
this “here”, which may change
like the birch’s leaves
that twitter in the wind;
or these naked white-hot roofs
outside the window:
I sense the presence of foliage.
Be it a coming or going, what matter,
when the purple sunbird moves
to higher blossom.
You are before me
in this elision of depth: we are one,
the air never separates us:
and the air we breathe,
chirping on the roofs outside,
the objects that may surround us –
they are all patience.
Poetry in this post: © Steven Grieco
Published with the permission of Steven Grieco