Alessio Zanelli

Alessio Zanelli

Alessio Zanelli is an Italian poet who writes in English and whose work has appeared in some 170 literary journals from 15 countries. His fifth original collection, titled The Secret Of Archery, was published in 2019 by Greenwich Exchange (London). Please visit

The Secret of Archery by Alessio Zanelli

The Secret of Archery
Alessio Zanelli
Paperback: 72 pages
Publisher: Greenwich Exchange Ltd (30 Nov. 2019)
ISBN-10: 1910996300
ISBN-13: 978-1910996300

Roadstead By Night

Watching the sailboats at anchor,
aligned and closer than by day
in front of the empty beach,
unconsciously nursing the hope
of being allowed a glimpse at infinity.
Yet beyond the swaying dots of light
on top of the spectral masts
there’s just plain darkness,
inconsistently absolute.
Maybe it’s that we’re looking for,
and our exact whereabouts
we keep on missing for sure.

first published in The Caribbean Writer (US Virgin Islands)

Mare Nostrum

The sun still rises from the Dardanelles,
draws an arc to Africa
and sets upon the Pillars of Hercules,
while the eagle has ceased to sweep the surge,
does not fly from end to end anymore.

Sunken down the shoals
off the French Riviera,
hulks of warships act as treasure chests
to the thrill of blue-eyed divers
from outside the acknowledged world.

Someplace around Byzantium,
forlorn in the dark of a crypt
under layers of later erections,
the gold insignia Odoacer shipped to Zeno
await retrieval and upholding.

Looked-after by zealous Italic sitters,
ebony-skinned children
of well-to-do Germanic families
gather colored pebbles on the shingles
of Capri’s exclusive inlets.

On the sand of deserted beaches
along the Gulf of Taranto,
captive in the spirals of fossilized shells,
the trumpet of Hannibal’s exhausted elephants
reechoes through the millennia.

first published in Poetry New Zealand, included in the
collection The Secret Of Archery (Greenwich Exchange, 2019)


Sailing always west,
constantly a league
ahead of the terminator,
just makes sunrise eternal,
buys evernauts no time.
The sea looks boundless
simply as bent around a globe,
but some dry land at last arrives
to break the route to dream.
Even long before Pythagoras,
Jason knew that well,
his sunrise the golden fleece
while seemingly chasing it
he tried to escape instead,
for he also knew too well
all it would bring along
was the voyage’s end.

A Migrant’s Lay

They’d said at least I would have had a chance.
It took me endless days, a slave again,
and sleepless nights, with past and future ghosts,
to save the cash and find the guts for it.
I’ll always bless the time at last I quit.

No desert, thug or sickness could have me,
as long as my beloved child walked by,
until this long-awaited water did.
Already gone, I only let it win
when trawlers neared my girl and pulled her in.

first published in Orbis (UK), included in the
collection The Secret Of Archery (Greenwich Exchange, 2019)

The Expedition

In the orange gleam
preceding sunrise,
toward bosky hills
shielding the coast,
dew collecting on the skin.

Chasing the lighthouse
by the fortress where the Hero of Two Worlds
called to load more arms and disembark some men,
brave and keen on dying for the making of a country,
yet unwilling to fight for the sake of a king.

A brief pause on Capo d’Uomo,
enough to take a pensive look
at the smoothest sea between Giglio and Montecristo,
before withdrawing through Bengodi
across the former marshland of Maremma.

Anointed with the smell of pines and oleanders,
heavy paces beat the time
to the fast-advancing morning,
while the silver bay reawakens slowly to life.
Once again I’ve made it back a perfect stranger.

first published in La Clessidra (Italy), included in the
collection The Secret Of Archery (Greenwich Exchange, 2019)

The Crab

Waiting. Like a crab, for the wave.
Not as many legs, though.
On the swash of the breaker,
not as prompt and fast, either.
An endless play with flash foam,
carefully ahead of the uprush.
Across the water table line,
in and out the sand hole.
Waiting. All the same, for the sea.

Poetry in this post: © Alessio Zanelli
Published with the permission of Alessio Zanelli