My Quiet Hiding Place
and other Selected Poems

Dante A Cinelli

© Copyright 2023 by Dante A. Cinelli

Image by David Schwarzenberg from Pixabay
Image by David Schwarzenberg from Pixabay

My Quiet Hiding Place

I have. a secret hiding place as I know do you.


It’s somewhere near between earth’s great green and 


                     depth of azure blue,


Perhaps near earth's equator, perhaps beneath 


                       Polaris’ shine?


Or is it in a High Sierra’s view where colossal clouds




It’s difficult to remember where my lonely footsteps




But, wherever it is, it’s a quiet chamber, perhaps 


                          below a roiling sea,


There my memories, like buried treasure, can be dug


            by wrinkled arms and weakened knee.


It’s as quiet as a graveyard in desolate, moonless isles


I visit to find gold memories extolled from family’s smiles.


I don’t stay long to garner memories, maybe two                                                                                              

                          or four, …..or eight:

An ethereal glance, a touch, ……a waft…….. of

 lilac… ,,,,,,,…..blossoms……arrayed by garden gate.

A gentle flash of Nona,……Papa, 

                        but they too quickly fade,

There, ……all but one,…..of laughing children

       swimming in the creek's green glade.


I leave by a sudden AWAKE,……albeit diminishing 


For there are so many memories for which my heart

                           forever yearns.



What My Eyes Have Seen

My friends, come with me to a great tangled forest of coruscating 

vignettes, some fading quickly into oblivion forever.  
The  venue, my memories; the driving force, the bitter-sweet taste of nostalgia,

sprinkled with passion and wonderment.
I have stood high on a hilltop beneath a voluminous blue canopy with magnificent

green orange billows of gray edged clouds.
I stood transfixed, motionless like a victim of the once-beautiful Medusa

 until my ancient spine begged for relief.
I gained ease by sitting atop a boulder until the sunset radiated 

before me in glorious orange and flame streaks.
My friends, my eyes have looked down the bow of a fast 

moving ship in convoy slicing

silently through a vast Pacific, cutting a green glowing swath of algae and minutiae.
I felt the presence of God looking at a million stars in the darkening indigo night, the

Southern Cross above my brow, forcing my spirit to cower in this scenario.
I needed no syllogisms, no great words to lift me, but to remind me at night to be on my

knees in reverence, no higher than the lowest beggar in a Persian 

mosque, praying to the same God but by a different name.
I have stood at attention, saluting flag-draped coffins of companions

 killed on duty after WWII was over, and a Korean truce in effect.

I stood atop a silent Mount Suribachi where valiant enemies gave 

their lives fighting for their countries. I stood where the second

 American flag was ordered to be posted.
I stood where the then-Lieutenant Schrier commanding the 

flag raising squad, later in life to be my Commanding Officer.
So perhaps, this little four year old immigrant boy and his

 older brother, Emilio, paid a small payment on that 

September day in 1936 when my father, a simple, but proud man

called his family to America by sacrificing his life, his comfort, 

his living a normal life by saving nickels and dimes, working 

at two jobs and running a cobbler’s shop, sleeping in

the hoveled back of the store to save rent, to bring us 

closer to America’s shore. This was no mean laborious 

goal, but the sacrifice of a human life for the sake of 

uniting a family in the land of Oz. And it continued on 

for decades; with the help of our mother, we stood

on their shoulders as they lifted us up in this glorious

 land. We slowly through the years began to understand 

the meaning of the word “sacrifice”, but never the full

 meaning until they passed from this life, too late to 

know, too late to kneel before them in humility.

But I must say my older brother morphed much sooner 

than I:

Follow me, dear reader, about twenty five years after 

World War II was over, Emil had fought in the south Pacific 

as a an army medical assistant in combat, attending

wounded soldiers and Marines on Okinawa, being bayoneted 

slightly in the side of his torso, surviving, and killing his 

attacker with a knife. Luckily his wound was minimal 

and missed his intestinal tract. I saw the scar myself.

However, in the vortex of war, in the complexities of 

survival, in the need for water and sleep  which is more 

precious than platinum, he never received nor put in for,

 a Purple Heart. This might be hard to believe, my friends, 

but it’s true. You would have had to have known, my brother, 

a “turk” if there ever was one. When he passed on, I drove 

to a New Jersey flea market just to buy a Purple Heart for

 $75 and place it with him. It would have been an impossible 

red-taped monumental task to have it awarded to him. 

Beside the fact that he never sought one.

OK, back to the scene, in upstate New York, twenty-five years later.

On the front lawn, someone from my now married sister’s 

family threatened to hit the cobbler’s head 

( I’ll name him Gepetto for now,…my father)…….

with the barrel of a .22 rifle in the presence 

of  Emil, the turk. It took three or

four grown men to try to restrain him in reaching 

the aggressor.

The way I heard it( for I was not present), bodies were

 tossed aside, legs and knees

bleeding from scraping giant slate slabs on the walk, 

the aggressor, my brother-in-law, had

jumped into his car and disappeared, while three men 

held the turk down.

Neighbors had called the State police, but no arrests were made.

Then I come down from the mountain, where I took my two 

young nephews to shoot 22 rifles safely in an enclosed ravine.

That was the milieu which ignited the argument on a warm sunny

afternoon in the Catskill mountains.

That poor, poor bastard was lucky to escape with 

his life, but wait, there is more, much more….but 

for another time, another place,….the same 

brother- in-law, …….but a different turk, ………………

But, I, like Sherharazade, will tell a new tale of my family, 

for my family which aspires to know some of their roots, 

some of their tendencies, some of their foibles,

one, maybe two of their weaknesses, but mostly, 

I pray, to be aware of their genes of goodness and 

empathy for the downtrodden.

When we sailed by a beautiful, silent French Lady,

 encrusted with green copper sulfate,

holding a torch, we didn’t know what was in our

 future then, what laughter, smiles,

travails and tears were awaiting along

 the paths we were to take……who was the hero

waiting for us on the dock?;his heart beating 

in his chest, waiting to embrace his wife, his

sixteen year old daughter, his fifteen year old 

turk; and I, four years old. He never saw

me before. I never saw him before either,

 but he grabbed my hand gently.

I remember I told him that I hadn’t seen my 

grey and white rocking horse.

He chuckled and laughed while he 

said, “ I think it swam back to Italy.”

I must have thought, “Oh, well!…….but who is this guy?”

That’s what these eyes have seen.


No Shadow Is Cast

I’ve walked this life for many years, laughed in the path I trod

I’ve laughed and danced in the trek of life for many years,

provided smiles, by family, friends, but too, a lake of tears.

Oh yes, proverbial, wine, and women and raucous song,

and,….also,……recurring,…… darkening dream,……..

                       ………..but, where do I belong?

I picked a few fruit, so tender, so sweet,

And without bitter pits, did a voracious palette greet.

I lived by Humankind’s rule, and they taught me how to kill or be killed

But God in His infinite mercy, deemed this was not to be fulfilled.

My walk continued under boardwalks where weak sunlight sometimes

                                 filtered through

of harsh laws, and so complex, turned a  weary traveler’s sojourn from 

                                from bright to darkened blue.

I’ve zigged, I’ve zagged, I’ve leapt high  o’er forbidden border lines, sometimes caught by man’s red-taped rule and paid audacious fines.

But, in all, I’m happy, I know finally where I am,

I’m an outcast without shadow and not giving a little damn.

The yearning I have now is like a canyon so wide and really deep 

And to fill it, just impossible, except in anxious sleep,

To join old friends and family, long gone, and so long passed,

No need of a useless shadow……………can’t even be rightly cast.


             A Blue Rose

I once heard of a blue rose of forgetfulness new

In a tale, oh, so old, of Arabian hue

An aroma so sweet, it melted memories of pain

Of true love, ill placed, had died where carelessly lain.

But hold, there is more to this tale I tell you this day,

As blue slowly crumpled into deciduous grey.

I did grow such rose on a mountain so high

Below snow lines that melted by summer’s last cry

It was planted with care,… I protected it well, 

watered with love til blue buds did swell.

The days rolled by slowly as they acquired full bloom

 And two score of blue roses in one tiny room.

I drunk in the flavor, along with the wine,

hundreds of times over,…alas,… forget, 

…………you were no longer mine.

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