Saturday, January 03, 2009

An Apple for ...

Today is Saturday, 3 January 2009.

Herewith, instead of outrage, a poem by Nobelist Eugenio Montale(translated by Charles Wright). (Yesterday, I bought a plump collection of Montale's poems at a used book store.)

“Bring Me the Sunflower”

Bring me the sunflower so I can transplant it
here in my own field burned by salt-spray,
so it can show all day to the blue reflection of the sky
the anxiety of its golden face.

Darker things yearn for a clarity,
bodies fade and exhaust themselves in a flood
of colors, as colors do in music. To vanish,
therefore, is the best of all good luck.

Bring me the plant that leads us
where blond transparencies rise up
and life evaporates like an essence;
bring me the sunflower sent mad with light.

As readers may have noted, I’m much more at home with didactic poetry than lyric.

So I sent this poem yesterday to a most discerning friend, who liked it. I’ve been re-reading it since, and she’s right, as always.

You should see the fields of southeastern Kansas in summer, crowded with fields of sunflowers "sent mad with light".

And here is the poem in Italian:

"Nel sonno"

Il canto delle strigi, quando un'iride
con intermessi palpiti si stinge,
i gemiti e i sospiri
di gioventù, l'errore che recinge
le tempie e il vago orror dei cedri smossi
dall'urto della notte - tutto questo
può ritornarmi, traboccar dai fossi,
rompere dai condotti, farmi desto
alla tua voce. Punge il suono d'una
giga crudele, l'avversario chiude
la celata sul viso. Entra la luna
d'amaranto nei chiusi occhi, è una nube
che gonfia: e quando il sonno la trasporta
più in fondo, è ancora sangue oltre la morte.


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