Sunday, July 21, 2019

Elba - A Poem for a Vacation

Instead of our usual vacation rundown, we were instead moved to capture our recent stay on Elba in the form of a poem.

View of Nisportino Elba.View of Nisportino Elba.View of Nisportino Elba.View from Punta dei Mangani towards Portoferrario, Elba.
Three views of Nisportino Elba and view from Punta dei Mangani towards Portoferrario Elba.


Maritime climate and unease in the air so starts the vacation
Saluted by giant cane grass a change in the landscape
Porto Piombino controlled chaos overstuffed cars and impatient people
Everyone eager for vacation or something else
Escape from boredom relax a new romance a tan
Stories waiting to be written

Strange creatures Toremar Moby Blunavy skim the sea
Bloated vessels sucking in and belching out people and cars
Dry sandwich and Coke on board to forget rocking and swaying
Obscured view through salt-encrusted windows
Islands pass by along with the latest headlines
Anticipating what I’ll encounter


Waiting for the ferry at Piombino.Disembarking at Rio Marina Elba.View of Rio Marina Elba from ferry window.View of Capoliveri Elba.View of Marciana Elba.
Piombino, waiting to disembark, a view of Rio Marina, Capoliveri, Marciana.

Port of call Rio Marina and like rats
People spill out blinking and adjusting to island life
First stop Conad for provisions with the slogan people over things
Ringing in my head as we lug water and food back
Already-stuffed car
Begrudgingly accepts more

Rhythm of our temporary home in Nisporto
Lazy days of early morning and late evening swimming
In-between time day camping at the campground
Staring at bright blue plastic café furniture courtesy of Nestlé Motta
Sweating without moving and listening to the nearby whack-a-mole arcade game
And its jingle that sounds like the first few notes of Flashdance

View of Marciana Elba.A cat sleeps in Marciana Elba.A plate of fish at Osteria del Noce in Marciana Elba.Capoliveri at night.Capoliveri at night and Borgo degli Artisti.
A Marciana alley, a Marciana cat, Osteria del Noce, Capoliveri at night, Borgo degli Artisti Capoliveri.

Toothless cigar-chomping man our waiter and constant companion
We occupy his space for a week
He reads the newspaper and we tap on computers
Parade passes people coming and going to the beach
Welcome to Camp Sole e Mare our god-forsaken savoir
Old men play briscola on the table next to us

Try not caring about what people think of me
On the beach with a floppy hat and swimming with shirt and sandals
Jaws drop exiting the water fully dressed
Decidedly not a bella figura and so un-tanned
White hot and sweating on the beach and in bed at night
Still feeling the undulations of the sea

View of Nisporto beach in the morning.View of Nisporto beach and boat.View of Nisporto beach at sunset.View of Nisporto beach in the morning.
Views of Nisporto beach

Art of vacation not something easily mastered
Art of sauntering on the beach too
To be seen and to see
Wish there were a nearby library retreat
There are no libraries on Elba during the summer
Reading room the beach and sea

Underwater sunlight pierces in slants
Floating on top and Mark six feet below
Warm currents and cold ones
Hug and explore the coast beyond the prying eyes of the beach dwellers
Nisporto to Nisportino and Nisporto to Bagnaia
Swaying Neptune grass and fish our company


View of Nisportino beach mid-morning.View of Nisportino beach sunset.View of Nisportino beach from the Pietre Rosse trail.View of Nisporto with its anchored boats.
Three view of Nisportino and one of Nisporto (where boats anchor).

Shape of Elba a fish swimming west
Veins winding roads never straight
Passing through fields of vermentino
Capoliveri keeping watch over the lower back fin
Hilltop town of Marciana the fisheye
Back to Nisporto the upper back fin

Pietre Rossse trail one morning one snake
Head buried under a rock hoping not to be seen
Reach isolated beach dei Mangani and swim
Dive back into the Mediterranean macchia
Jog to Nisportino and home to Nisporto
Start the workday in plastic blue chairs

Biodola beach - arriving.Biodola beach - filled up by mid morning.Spiaggia dei Mangani - isolated and deserted.Spiaggia dei Mangani - isolated and deserted.
Full and empty beaches. Full at Biodola. Empty at Spiaggia dei Mangani.

Warp and woof of life in Elba a study of angles
Where the sun is and will be
Pleasing morning or evening
Swim with the rising and setting sun
Noontide sun beats down bringing joy to others
Ebb and flow of light not water

Biodola beach on the back of the huge island fish
Last day no blue camp furniture
Gentle trip down friend's memory lane
Who for years came here with the family housekeeper
A detail swirling in mind
Like fish nibbling at our feet on the sandy ocean bottom

The Egyptian room in Napoleon's country house.The Demidoff Gallery at Villa San Martino.A fish design from Aquasalata Nisporto.Trail indications at a major hiking and mountain biking intersection above Nisporto.A dinner at rental in Nisporto.
Napoleon's country house, the Demidoff Gallery, a fish design at Aquasalata similar to the outline of Elba, indications for trails above Nisporto, a dinner at home in Nisporto.

The hills outside of Portoferraio a regal view from
Villa San Martino Napoleon’s country house
Push past plates with his likeness and scarves with three bees
Straight shot up to disappointment
Hulking palatial structure that dominates a later Russian addition
Demidoff surely meant well but where is the history book picture

Real Napoleon residence hides behind
Demure and modest structure one could imagine living in
Napoleon left his imprint and left himself after ten months
Bathroom and marble tub qui odit veritatem odit lucem
"He who hates the light hates the truth"
Did Napoleon ever swim on Elba

View from Punta dei Mangani towards Portoferrario, Elba.View looking west, over Nisporto from Monte Strega.The winding road down to Nisporto.
View from Punta Mangain toward Portoferraio, looking down on Nisporto, the long winding road to Nisporto.

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