94-Year-Old Poet Has A Way With Words

By Jano Tantongco
jtantongco@longislandergroup.com

In the April 8, 2004 issue of The Long-Islander, Aunt Rosie wrote about Josephine Geluso, an 82-year-old woman who started writing poetry just two years earlier.

*Long Islander News photo/Jano Tantongco   Josephine Geluso holds her first published volume of poetry, entitled, “Memories Served Here,” which was first published in 2003, just a year after she first started writing.  

*Long Islander News photo/Jano Tantongco
 

Josephine Geluso holds her first published volume of poetry, entitled, “Memories Served Here,” which was first published in 2003, just a year after she first started writing.

 

“It never fails -- as soon as I start feeling my age, something comes along to provide a bit of inspiration and remind me that you’re never too old to start something new,” Aunt Rosie wrote.

A year earlier, Geluso had just published her first book of poetry, “Memories Served Here.”

Today, Geluso stands at 94, just as sharp as she ever was, and is on the heels of publishing her fifth book, “Bow To Time.” She writes every day from her Oyster Bay Cove home, just outside of the Huntington township, reflecting on the past, a seemingly endless reservoir of material at her disposal.

Geluso was formerly a physical education teacher for Holy Cross Academy for Young Ladies in New York City, St. Barnabas High School in the Bronx, the College of Mount St. Vincent and for various schools in Brentwood.

She first began her writing when she was standing on the tarmac with the late Donald Axinn, a poet and writer. Her youngest son Greg Geluso was Axinn’s personal pilot, transporting him to his various homes in Vermont, Florida and Long Island.

Josephine Geluso

Josephine Geluso

Axinn showed Geluso a photograph of an old, worn gate. She remarked that the pictured scene was beautiful enough to write about.

“He showed me a picture of a beautiful old gate that was partly open,” she said.

Geluso responded, “Oh, that’s asking to be written about.”

“Why not you?” he asked her.

Geluso went home that night, lifted the pencil to paper, beginning her poetic journey.

Another source of inspiration for her is her late husband, Nick Geluso, with whom she shared 66 years of “steadfast love for making our marriage a romance,” as stated in the dedication at the beginning of her book, “Bridge To Tomorrow.”

Her work carries an easy-going poignancy that can easily transport one to the shores of the Long Island Sound.

From her poem, “Contented Hours:”

On the shore
Of Long Island
roaring waves
attack sandy beaches
frothy bubbles linger
a moment
gently ripple back to Atlantis…


I watch
nature in action
As blinding orange
slowly fades to pink
of sunset


I snuggle into my solitude
and decide to do nothing.


“I’m not a poet. I’m a storyteller. I tell stories almost exactly like my grandfather did,” she said. “It’s everyday living. It’s the things I see, the things I feel. I’ll go out and take a walk in the woods, and I hear sounds, I see things, and I write about them.”