Low Season in Grado
Before the high season
when the bandsaw chorus of German tourism
begins to slice through the simplicity,
this timeless island of Grado at the northern Adriatic fringe,
native nest of Biagio Marin, whose elementary verse
captured flowers in the lagoon, where winds cry of the
Virgin Mary, a perfect espresso writes me
a poem as a warm drizzle lays the backbeat for a symphony
of sleeping sailboats in the harbor.
A lifeless Austrian boat
teaches me about metaphors, a bare vessel
with flakes of rust floating in scattered pools
on the bow, sewing seeds to the glory of Habsburg,
a relic from absentee owners who left long ago,
$3800 Euros on its fading sign, for sale, curling at the
damp edges, while the Adriatic speaks of wars for men’s
souls, the lives of fishermen, popes, patriarchs,
and the collapse of empires.
Only then does Biagio Marin
steer me into the present, along the road
to his abandoned home on Via Marchesini
where stems of ivy cover the gray facade like a road map,
where the solitude of this island village
echoes with the spirit of its favorite son, his mystical dialect
seeded from west and east, from Nietzsche and Tagore
to the migrant birds of today.
There in the silence
of my morning, as the drizzle gives way
to cosmic stretches of light and sun-soaked stones,
I realize the luxuries of business travel mean nothing
against dilated skies and red passionflowers,
my two-room suite means nothing to a family of sparrows outside
in the alcove, and when the season comes, German tourists
with their terrible coffee will pale by comparison to the
poetry of those who travel with Biagio Marin.
About the Author
As a scribe, Gary Singh has published over 1000 works, including newspaper columns, travel essays, art and music criticism, profiles, business journalism, lifestyle articles, poetry and short fiction. He is the author of The San Jose Earthquakes: A Seismic Soccer Legacy (2015, The History Press), and was recently a Steinbeck Fellow in Creative Writing at San Jose State University.