Stephanos PapadopoulosUSAWriting2010
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The awe of seeing the castle for the first time on the rainy afternoon of my arrival never wore off. There were certain unforgettable angles to the buildings, a turret framed by cypress trees, a special tone of afternoon light on the brick ramparts, the crunch of footsteps in gravel, the bird that squawked like an alarm clock every night in the forest behind the garden, the early mornings for work and coffee in the quiet dawn, mist clearing in the valley, the tractors on the distant hill readying for the harvest, the rain that fell and kept falling that brought us together with laughter over umbrellas, hats, woolen scarves ---and then the absolving sun that turned the hillsides and the cool forest into unbearable temptation from work, the gift of time, the gift of uninterrupted daydreams, and most of all, these amazing people, fellows and staff, who in six weeks became more like family than anything else---my deepest thanks and gratitude for all these things, and more.

 

Stephanos Papadopoulos Civitella Ranieri, June 2010

 


DOWN IN THE DARK

 

Down in the dark in the ground so sweet
goes the body once the center of attention
yet soon forgotten where the grass grows
quick and strong in the fresh, turned earth.
Even the ones with fame and money
or talents discovered in twilight,
are held by amateurs and strangers
in dictionaries, symphonies, yellowed notes
or cold books on crowded bookshelves,
the living elbowing the dead.
Sometimes a stone turns up, a Sapphic fragment
whose night of longing under the island moon
still sparks the love and lust deranged.
Down they go in the welcoming dark
frail as the balloon a child let go
by accident and then forgot.
Down they go as we swear remembrance eternal
and “fare thee well is no goodbye…”
Down they go in the welcoming dark.


From the collection: Hôtel-Dieu, 2009