Poets from all over the world about Covid
How to Say Love in Your Language
“Languages have no borders, borders are only political” “There is an invisible language we all draw on” “All writing is a translation of a world” “I move through the languages I know looking for a universal language.” This is the true avant-garde, the true
prophecy for the future of the species.
Fekrì, hubùn, dashùri
sirèl, bhālabāsā, agàpi
uthàndo, ài, jeclahày
süyüü, obichàm, aròha
khairtài, cariàd, upéndo
amour, is bràe, snēhàṁ
maxabbàt, szerelém, rudo,
liebe, evîn, miq’vàrs.
- Go on in verses of seven clear syllables
with these sounds, new as the world
that call out now from meadows
and from forests, igloos, huts
and stilt houses, skyscrapers and canoes: I, this bit of nothing
slipped into the dream of matter, will care for you
until the end of the world.
Rome, February 9, 2019 – traduzione di Johanna Bishop
POEM-SHROUD FOR GENOA
- august 14, 2018
- A shroud is called sudario, sweat cloth
- because it absorbs what seeps out
- of the dead. It is draped
- over the face, to screen the living from the sight
- of death’s patient scouring
- of those beloved features, the swelling
- and the final excavation, the paring down to bone, that brings
- a body’s concluded matter back to the unfinished state of other
- matter, to the jumbledness of mudclods and quasars.
- Out of decency a shroud is draped
- over the face, to stop that face from ending
- up before our eyes. Just so I wish
- that words, which cannot really wipe away
- even one drop
- of your blood, might bear witness at least to
- life, the deep sky blue
- or the dog-rose between the boat hoists
- that made you smile
- at how it was so doggedly alive
- within the endless workyard of the port
- aglow with dying sun
- or that other sun, the radial grandeur of dawn
- raised amid flittings of reality like a renaissance.
- Contemporary world going to your death
- among the seagulls on the city fringes,
- under a Milky Way wheeling like the green insomnia
- of a universe
- that isn’t watching us, you world of infinite existencing that
- does not contemplate
- mortal creatures, without first name or last we will turn back into things
- like other things, without wrappings or nostalgia we will return
- to the unsorted heap of stars. But now, now
- that we are alive
- traduzione di Johanna Bishop
da The Disappeared (pordenonelegge, 2016)
Mosses Pave the Way for Spring
It was dark that evening – darkness being
rather sluggish and tranquil – and from it emerged
an old woman wearing a shawl and a long
black skirt. She said if you want to save
your little girl, let her fast
days and nights; you can only
speak of the distance
between here and Paradise.
All that’s left of the woman is the slip of the tongue
between my daughter and my life.
translated by Anatoly Kudryavitsky
da FOSSIL SERIES (Crocetti, 2015)
© – fossil
put one hand here like a white blindfold, close my eyes,
flood the threshold with blessings, after
the green gold of the iris
like a queenly bee
and – mote
of gold and winnowed wheat –
into your hive of light
a bee constellation wheels around the linden
with inhuman wisdom, a gyration of minds sticking fast
to the honey tree
– it would be reductive to call it love
this necessity of nature –
while a foregone emptiness heals over
without a trace between flower and flower:
use your mouth, ease the golden
stinger from my heart,
the memory of a flash of light that burnt my human form
in some prehistory
where madmen caress stones as if they were children’s heads:
come closer, like the first
among lost things
and that face rises up from stone to smile again
Θ – per alba
my dear heart is a human god,
a bird from the highlands
nesting night after night in the pale glow
of your breast
like a perfect hendecasyllable verse
(soul-thing) white and so lavish, slight of wing – rose
and bramble, ashes – parva
among squandered stars,
of a tube sponge
in the white planetarium, white tiger
sitting by the side of the white painless road
my dear heart grows from your bones
like a rose from a living tongue
– in drips,
in a hemorrhage
– from your alphabet
but it is from this body,
from its silent harvest
that the word comes,
this absolute bread
I offer, this beauty so
vivid, made for you
x – metamorphosis
I have saddled my mount, the disc of the sun
rings out like bronze over the countryside,
by a magnificent ram
– transhumance, time out of time
a chorus of corollas unfurls at dawn, your flower-eye
cracks open, lets its gaze
settle into the golden vein
of the earth, into the world’s joy at being
by beasts at pasture, which are living
up to life
as your whole body
worshipped, said yes
as the bronze of your eyes
worshipped, said yes
breach-bloom of wisteria appearing
out of the bitterness of iron
make her happy, black thorn
of wild robinia
make her happy, make her happy, field
of mallow, spread out like a laud
under the blue calm of the mountain:
I serve the animal that worships the sun
take care of her, I was told. yes, said I. love her, I was told. yes, said I. never leave her alone, because through your love she loves herself. and I, could no longer answer
where I was flesh she was ivory
(Pier Paolo Pasolini)
in the exoskeleton of the Law
in the tragic
month of November
everything was weeping
hold me tight, outside
of human bounds
hold me like a mother
in her dreamed embrace
forever forever forever…
I wish you would put on that dress
you bought on a day in July
after saying I love you too
I wish you would put on that dress
for me, one last time,
then, I wish I could melt into the earth
and rest where she rests
a nightingale was here. it shouldn’t have been here, but it was here. and sang so long. I made my little silent song and he made his. who knows who he was singing for, maybe just for the sweetness of singing. no purpose, no victory. with life living up to his song.
that’s it, sweet Alba, I want life to live up to the song. that’s the trouble and that is the good thing.
I dressed you all up in my song of love
I raised you all up, like March grass piercing through
the winter earth, like the bray of a jenny among the fuller’s
teasels, the yellow wing bar
of birds in the sky. your life
answered. your body
my song. then, it went back within the bounds. but the nightingale, out
of time and out of his warm
African land, here, from the heart of the western winter
sings, sings on, sings
garden of original joy
your flesh blossoming like a flame in the green flame of the country
I don’t believe my eyes
I see the golden bronze
of your body coming closer
I don’t believe my eyes
you pull volatile gold
out of your chest that can feel love and you tell me between kisses it’s a miracle
I don’t believe my eyes
all the grass and the whole scent of the countryside are awe
this bread left in the grass is awe and awe is the bottle foaming over the flowers
don’t wipe your mouth
your beauty has no barriers
my blood contains space without dominion, and from the center of all life spills an embrace big as the world
I already told you
back in the city, remember? look, the world is so big, it’s your love that has made room for itself
half-naked, towel over your shoulder
with flesh reborn out of my kisses
with the feet of a child
you climb the stairs,
you climb up to feel where the soul of a living creature begins
in the crucial place
there is a vast silence
and a buzzing of mosquitos
the gold of your lips
the white fluttering of your blood
out of the beloved body rises
a glow that pours out,
your whole body making a sound of sea
how your heart beats
and in my blood the same light shines
now and then we laugh at my anguish
that no bigger words exist
if I could open my chest, remember?
I can make up the words
I can make up the whole world
to make you happy
then, I let you go like you wanted
don’t go, I said, I miss
what I am with you, this ample
thing, this sun-filled space that becomes what’s good for you
it wasn’t the muscle alone that suffered, the whole area
around it ached
and the silence scraped like a rasp and completed the spontaneous work of pain
which echo, what moon, what soil, what crater, which
among the high stars of the night that lit up your mouth still
happy with love, what pitying planet
was moved to compassion? what was merciful?
your ancestral body has released its astral body
dawn hovering over mortal things when they awake
as if they did not have to die
this is what i know of love: the wounds that take years to turn back
into flesh that still wants to be blessed with kisses, never leave her alone
Union of MRK 1034
the spirals of the two ammonites on your chest
echo the shape of the twin galaxies
PGC 9074 and PGC 9071
in the constellation of the Triangle
one of them (9074, type Sa) shows a bright protrusion, the inkling of a dawn, but has its arms tightly wrapped around its own nucleus
the other, the galaxy that unfurls to the north in the sidereal dark (9071, type Sb) has stretched its arms more than a few light-years out.
the black space of the universe is moved by incommensurable magnetisms. otherwise, it’s blind.
this sort of uninhabited
embrace, this guardian opening its wings in the deep silence, bears an ache in its right shoulder. a celestial object with inflamed tendons, in your northeastern sky
the two galaxies are scientifically inseparable. I quote, from an article by Eleonora Ferroni, in the newsletter of the National Institute of Astrophysics: “they are close enough to feel each other’s gravity, but there are no visible gravitational disturbances”
both have produced “young, hot stars lying behind,” while “older, cooler star formations” pulse, gold like the feral gold of the savanna, close to their nucleus
and a chorus of receding stars surrounds them, like a coronet of debris
the two astral neighbor ladies have left trails of blood and sweetness, the dross of lives long absorbed by the thundering of galactic winds. but the gravitational pull of each to the other will lead them to converge into a single great phenomenon, into a full embrace.
the article closes saying: “in several hundred million years the two structures will merge, since the gravitational attraction that already binds them will have definitively drawn together the already inseparable twins”.
patient holy stars. objects that do not force
the spacetime curve, limpid forces that remain
in the natural interval
that on earth is called respect.
the stars have the calm of stars..
this Cretaceous fossil form has an earthly design: its spirals, formed by thick strokes of organic ink, depict the rotation of the two galaxies. things that perhaps took place on the same time in earth and in heaven. 180 million years ago. things of which we are the future. or the utopia.
this science-fiction union of set theory, the fossil/astral stage of matter, is my gift to you.
waiting to form the union to which they are destined, the two neighbors carry out intense inner activities which lead both to give off active energy, useful for creating planets. they are two splendid foundries, two feverish mills of stars. they radiate light.
the online observatory of the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, which identified them, published the news on 06.24.2013 (from that afternoon, I recall a gleeful arm-wrestling match at the café, under a wall of wisteria blossoms. nobody won. our forces are equivalent and complex structures)
the evocative discovery instantly spread through international astronomy sites, in the early days of July 2013. From those days I remember a dialogue about the irony of nature: we discovered that the alveoli in the lungs and meconium in the gut form at the same evolutionary stage of the human fetus: pneuma and feces. as always. humanity.
then, I remember a song of immortal love on the ruins of the Basilica Maxentius: “e si ’na stella canta pe’ ammore rimmane ’n cielo mill’anne e nun more”. then, I remember a smile, deep enough to absolve the dead, invincible as the gravitational force that on earth is called destiny. and then I remember a ringing of bells, simple as the warmth of your mouth
that lingers on here, well beyond my life
Plea for the release of Alba
Herein we relate the sorrowful and joyful matter of the body of Alba, confiscated in the month of August of this year by its legitimate Proprietress, whom for the sake of brevity,
we shall refer to hereinafter as
the consonant P1.
And now the calamitous events are laid out in clearest succession.
In the month of May of this year, the undersigned Procuratress of Alba – whom we shall refer to hereinafter,
for the pleasure of nullity,
as the consonant P2 – had come across the body in question
in the lobby of an Institute. The body was of the female gender, it was still
it was to all appearances alive and quite
It was however in a state of dire need. It showed evident scars, as if due to a strain or a SOLITUDE long borne. These signs were especially visible along the right cheek and at the root of the neck. It also possessed an unknown number of rays abandoned by its sides,
almost to the root.
But in it there lived on a proud nostalgia, a stubborn melancholy determined to endure, perhaps the memory, not altogether faded, of when
Mysteriously, P2’s eyes envisioned in a flash the power that THE BODY would develop, if properly restored.
just as mysteriously, through a fluke of
nature that many admit to considering a miracle,
in P2 there existed a transitive need to heal,
equivalent to that of the body in question.
was therefore immediately reawakened by the desire to heal P2.
and its undersigned Procuratress found in each other such a mysteriously intimate and familiar meaning that they felt a tenderness deeper than either would ever have been capable of feeling for herself.
Similar to hers, yet outside of hers, the body appeared to P2 naturally worthy of every form of loving attention. To this emotion P2 soon added a commitment to this emotion. So she gave herself over. Then came the days of patience and primary devotion. P2 applied herself to tending that body with infinite loving care: she nourished it, made it laugh and walk and even held it in her arms, she kept it animal company, overcoming bit by bit its mistrust of rebirth. And the body was generous and gave proficient satisfaction. Slowly, the deactivated receptors were rekindled, everything inside set to smiling with joy: bashfully at first, almost shielding itself. To start with the mouth was fed and, through it, joy poured out all over the body, like pure water slowly washing away encrustations and debris, false resting places of phantom limbs, empty forebodings and tracks of salt left by ancient tears. The joy rinsed everything from inside, sweeping away wraiths and painful memories through channels that had silted up over time, from disinterest and neglect. P2 felt the slow joy of witnessing the awakening of faculties and appetites.
When the body was all clean and all new, right in the middle of a memorable
out of it arose a shining and fearless identity, which was immediately called Alba.
For P2 it was an incomparable joy to witness that birth, see the rays spreading out one by one around the body, luxuriant and happy, seeing the body put into action the never-more-forgotten mechanism of love. As this all of this took place in the body, the same took place in P2. Through the love of that body P2 experienced the brief experience of loving herself.
This lasted two days, since with eyes cleansed from inside, the body found the strength to see the melancholy of its other present: indeed, the body endured the daily strain of shining over an abandoned realm.
And so, on a torrid afternoon in mid-August, the body, considered too painfully
KEEN OF SIGHT,
was confiscated by its legitimate Proprietress and shut up
in a cramped cubbyhole, where the aforesaid body had no
and meekly it began
to fade away, again
to be bent and hollowed in the
It was also resolved not to allow the body itself to radiate anything whatsoever
especially in relation to the
Procuratress known as P2,
pending new instructions from the Proprietress known as P1.
The exertion of reining in the desire to shine under the loving hands of P2 exhausts the body. When she is allowed to approach the peephole of the cell,
the undersigned P2 can see its debilitated state.
Likewise the undersigned P2
allows herself to point out that the same thing is happening to
Therefore, in hope of moving her to compassion and reappraisal, the undersigned Procuratress is herewith sending the esteemed Proprietress a formal plea for the release of Alba. The undersigned P2 declares herself prepared to pay Madame P1 the sum of 10,000 pure gold lines of verse and to imitate the call of every songbird and even undertakes to learn dances and jokes to assuage any future vexation of Madame P1. So that Alba may be restored to the unfathomable beauty of the
from GARDEN OF JOY (in ELLE, performance by Sonia Bergamasco)
I wanted to write about joy
the scent of your breath in the heart
the mere nip
of your teeth right at the edge
casts the white glow of stars
into the puddles
in the morning above all
you blazed up in the light
like water cast on embers
your voice was naked as water
into the living
dough of your body
the vault full of stars and the muzzles
of beasts echoed
in your mother-yeast
you were happy
look at me
I am the path for the gold of galaxies
I am bread set down
at your feet
after the first harvest of creation
I sing of the slight wind we do not feel that blows
in the distance between stars
I sing of our banner
snapping in the thick of the Roman mint
I sing of the leaf bed
and the glossed shell of the water lily
and I sing of the raw gold of your eyes
simple and transparent as a yes
the simple shadow of the body in love
pendants at the throat
and the enamel of teeth
planting itself pale between dark lips
with hair as black as wheat, straining
like the agave, you stood so much taller
than yourself, taller
than your own life
we have mulched the earth with the salt of bodies
the cinnabar of the sky mixed with the oil in the puddles and the gold of the light on your lip
your body on the fluorescent grass of morning
the bedroom flooded by a phloem of light
and the vortex in the drapery, bright green over pale wood
drink this gold that has no way to die
29 July 2014
traduzione di Johanna Bishop
da La macchina responsabile (Crocetti, 2007)
FROM THE EXPOSED WORLD
Love is the health of the monkey.
The eyes of the saint donkey marked by seeing
the quiet rust of the cisterns.
Wind that sharpens the grass, the ultraviolet chalice,
of the evening as a radiant latitude.
Or the sea and the afternoons
composed by the nymphal sheath of the cicada.
Prove me your happiness
in the carcass of the everyday
that you gnaw until there is light, light…
IN THE CRAWLING MONTH
The tremble in the lairs at sunrise
assumes a new macerate majesty
to look into the beauty of the trees
in the sweet days of late October.
The primary ultrasound of the bells in the swoon’s hour
spangled by luminous knots.
We are an extreme azure-blue race
– new appearances erected
that slowly collapse.
The precipice of a body in time,
purged of houses
in the imminence of a secular paradise.
Inside monstrances of snow
I found the faces of the soldiers, black hosts
poor hearts soaked with matter.
A dark ruminating under layers of snow.
THE WIND IN THE SEA IS A BEING MADE OF SCALES ARRANGED TO MASSACRE
The wind – a being of scales that assaults us,
straightens the bares of the hill body
a balance of placid verdigris, a lament, the scented mills of underground
the firm peace of the auburn water, the victim of the
that declares his love for enigmas and condition us.
The volatile rank of the cars of iron and flesh
Is a breeding ground of latent returns
water removed from the terrace and from the wheat fields
inebriated of wind and glory
of the solstice
bare and thundering
observatory full of euphoria and chill.
FROM THE RAVINE OF BABI-YAR
But suddenly I wanted
to live to live
in the human infection. How?
escaping if she remains here – but I went back
erased in me
erased in the specific human characteristic
of laughing. They
to watch newborn babies becoming ash (the own
musculature and the other, the saliva and the breath
of the others) and the salty smell of disheveled hair swept away
by the burn. Look at the torch of his forehead where you
laid down the other half of your kisses. So
they could not separate the body of my brother from her arms
as tight as
she held it, I keep on thinking from which vice my salvation
A sea of people and sorrow.
Even the trees laid on the ground for the sorrow.
In the phosphorous grey of the heap of stones two
as compromised dummies.
It was not
of the drunken soldiers to kill
ha ieled shelì, it was the weight
of my hug under the weight of the bodies.
And then the shots again. And the golden teeth were torn away
from the mouth of the dead.
The glance of my mother
was frightening – under her was a sea of bodies covered
in the soul – I
as black mud. What
could emerge from the bottom of the ravine but this
SAID BY SIMBOLS
The dear guide
lost in country of Northern
Europe. The language
of the passer-bys is extremely
strange. So I don’t mourn enough in the dream
snow that I have never seen is her death and the house
is flooded and incurable, the pots
are no longer hers, they are
mine, therefore, because I’m the universal
heir and the house is a great place
full of strangers
who enter the body
that has not yet
ended up between those shiny doors of pale blue glass,
MAYBE IT WAS THE AGE, THE CIRCUMSTANCE
My hands are covered by white stains as the bark
of the tree bent by a strange sadness.
It’s a pale blue round
the radiance of the fourmotors on the void
of the face placed like a stone
with the rifle on its side, the body like a big
seed cracked by the tree
in the swallowing of the ground.
The position of the bodies interest us
when they are no longer responsible:
as we are grub fished out
picked up with pieces of newspaper
from the tracks – and the body regrets
at the mercy of cloudy elements with the rosary
put in the pocket
by the mothers on the earth
fairly attached at the bone
in intermittent contact
with another big
body and the sweet agony of not being human beings.
Don’t worry, take care of your money, forgive
this earth with its language, with the happiness
of an angel like a scale at the centre of the breast that
nullifies the characteristics and the grass
slides from the palms.
The body is at the same time springboard and rag
of the invisible
of proportion between crime and punishment. It remains in memory of
between the excess of the woods
the rapid meridian ellipsis
of mineral magma
with clasped hands. The shoes wax of the soldier
marks the arsenal of nature
it’s sadness that he bears, the desperate
human load of this frightening and mute earth.
I DID NOT GO IN THE WATER WITH DIFFICULTY
The indifference of the mimosas similar to a project of the swallows and sea
in the mullioned window of the under port – the steel
of the containers at the beginning of the aerial bridge
on bodies as the arch of the new moon. I felt
at the most a man, so I wanted your body without resistance
as the bread broken by Christ.
The milestone experience of the pines
– the drills, the brooms at the base of the trellis
isolated in the glass
and covered by lime.
The countryside that touches the sky and the sea as an infinite
as your steps before the sin.
Inhale the air and the fading particles,
for all eternity with explosion of light
the toxic mold
of Tuthankamon, the egg shape of the skull filled with not resin,
golden rings on the knees where the bone begins
to react to the dorsal bend without ever resisting.
His voice was calm and truthful,
a love shed
the hemorrhagic reaction of a human material.
The bones show sign of healing now
sick with gratitude.
traduzione di Barry Callaghan
The lymph system of the dead is traced on roses
the flames still corkscrewed around
the cinch of nerves and flitting helixes
of hair: Homeric poses of matter
half-alive. Buried deep
above the earth (chorus: the earth), if they have
any mercy they will seem fallen
into a simple-minded sleep
like a huge repast
of human flesh, they will seem to mingle in a dazed
resignation (chorus:- their flesh
– their gaze
with the smoldering mud of Gernika)
Slumbering mud, a document left blank – objects
of boundaries with the ground.
Her whole self
is a gorge of blood that sags
from the mouth of her son (chorus: Son!), your name
was the glory of my mouth, it sprang from the white gleam
of incisors, at dusk it would go rolling through the arches
each of its vowels like pearls scattered into the peace of dawn
so that with the first breath of the morning
a smile would bud up
from my breast in saying you.
Her mouth was twisted open like
the silence of a star.
This is what you people have done.
(chorus: this is what you people have done)
Like a bridal veil, the garland
laid by flies on a head so utterly made
for life that quivers
in the wind mimicking the leaves like yellow traffic lights
along Calle San Miguel.
And every body stoops down to the earth, every body bends
towards them and thrusts – thrusts
their arms down under
the earth, with the pitiful swarm of the living. Come Rosa,
come Pablo, Maria, Alejandro, Carmen, I
your white columns of meditation, I see your white dreams
I see the bicycles the lanterns the framework of it all
I remember and remember
tomorrow, the date
of your wedding,
and the brazen ribbons like dragons’ tongues snapping and fluttering
as the car carried you south: tomorrow.
A forestgrown wood and your tongue
is like a great sea creature too drained
to fight the current. You linger
like a maceration
like a stain of the invisible
in the calm disaster of this round world
and among celestial muscles like a baited hook you dangle
the acrobat’s rope, the green cable, the posthumous flamethrower
of this earthbound tongue.
I thought it was his breath
that came foaming out of his mouth, but maybe
he was not at peace with his soul he was
tattered from a stern reprimand
like fire at the foot of the cross.
I see them
smiling and saying come on
Maria, come and get us, I hear
all this rustling
of children and feel the stab of knowing they aren’t home, I see them
like ropes of fire
or they caress my lashes
wordless, for lack of themselves as language.
Do not tread on the face of my son for he
has yet to know the world.
I was shrouded in the bleakness of a tree with no control
over the splintering of its limbs, that never mends
after the bloody pruning
and does not move on. I feel it in my heart, so deeply stained
with the raw wine of his body and know that from the cross of his body
the birds will flit down one by one.
To me you are an angel and a rose.
On earth hoed and contemplated
with the phenomenal slowness of natural labour
here are my first kisses from the shores of after.
traduzione di Johanna Bishop
I – the sea
The Tyrrhenian is a cage of salt
an infirm cadaver
with the impassive sleep of an animal.
The deformation of boulders
broken loins of enormous fleeting phenomena
on the coasts
animals disposed toward calm.
The saints stood like cormorants
– with their beaks tied
to the joints of the sea
they lead the way for caravans.
The watershed of the savories
the inclined aviary of the mistral – withered
one by one the tufts of the wings, just short of a forest of saline origin.
The Aeolian peace of the cliffs, widespread
horns of war
on top of the clay in peace and quiet like sanctuaries
and mines of saline silver
merchant ships in the bunker of the ploughing
II – the earth
An immense shroud on the bass drum of the sea
where the inanimate
and the sea flares up toward the unleavened white
of the human herd that imitates the burning heat of seagulls and the flock
the color of wheat
in the melancholy sun – a wild field
of the sweetest milk.
Beaches opened up by an age-old mourning, broken down
on the earth
not completed by the deserted tolling of the sun and full of bellows.
She can only be a saint because the island is empty
the earth without sight
without a candle of animals
and in the globe of dawn vibrates the unhappy ax
of the pulse
down to the bone of the tree. A cross
of silence bursts forth
in the sacred choir
– in the profit
of extinct herbs that taste of craters
MARIA, THE APPARITIONS
I dream of them, they call me, I see them
smiling at me and saying come
Maria, come and get us, I feel all this movement of children and I feel bad that instead I am not
at home, I see them at home like cords of fire with the fillings of the dead
in the coagulations of blood
or they caress my eyelashes
mute, lacking themselves as language
TEN THOUSAND CIVILIANS (*)
I. Sant’Anna, August 12, 1944
We knew the young man
with the cross pendant
and the picture of a saint
it was put ahead
in the light like before closing your eyes after the descent
of the sun that leaves the soil with grass and flesh
frying and the beasts everywhere
by hands still bolted to protect
his face from the machine-gun and the person writhed
in all the directions of the slaughter
They would round up children like grains of sand and like sand that obeys the wind they were mute. They
did not defend themselves: they composed inanimate dunes, they composed things
bent toward the wind
on the churchyard, they only clutched their photos to themselves so that later
someone could give the right name
to the body that each one had used while alive. We buried Maria
inside the box her doll came in.
Some of those who gave orders
spoke in the dialect of our part of the country and in fact
they wore colored bandages on their faces out of shame
that their faces would be visible to the amazement of the dead.
Then there’s the fetus placed
on the table under the eyes
of the sitting mother
she spreads a final silence
from her open belly
she stares in a stupor
at the tiny trajectory of the bullet
from one side to the other between the tiny temples.
II. Marzabotto, September 29, 1944
We went out after the silence came
from the woods under the peak of Monte Sole and we learned
that pigs eat our flesh: my nephew
was under the tent and my father
a poor thing badly placed on others
set in two
a windowsill, black
on a cliff and of the last one
there remained the bonnet under his mouth, of fire.
At the first explosion we learned still
that they had mined the bodies
so that the dead would kill the living
who came out of the forests to reassemble them, to undo
one to the other like little moorings in the dark inlet of death
so that each one among the dead would return alone
and each one of the living
could name that loneliness
like the loneliness of a far away relative,
could press on that loneliness his mouth, on those hands
of powder and outstretched coral
as in the days of sunshine
when everything was near resemblance.
And so they all bent down, they kept
their heads down
over a number bigger than each body.
(*) During the retreat the Nazi-Fascists massacred about ten thousand civilians, including the elderly, women and children.
GHAZAL OF SHIRAZ’S WOMAN
(transcriptions of Hafez)
For her yes – if she
were to deign to welcome
in the cool cavity of her palms the
black pearl of combustion of my heart
for the black trifle
on her cheek I
would hand over the tombs
of the fathers at Samarcand and the mosques of Bukhara.
Empty out the clay loins of the amphoras
in the supported cups, dear
near me and let’s watch
the oasis, the falling of all the leaves
to the gunshots of the wind and still like
from the streaming of these
earthly waters, from the white gravel the birds rise up
toward the night because for everything
that falls another
lifts up but nothing
of this beauty
no more justice
will follow her
in the incomprehensible enormity of the heavens.
Oh, how many!
sweet and playful and vagabond kids
make tempests in the live waters
of my heart and reap like barbarians
king of light the harvest of the banquet tables
of the capital
that holds out his medieval gold among the cedars and the olive trees.
traduzione di Berenice Cocciolillo