I’ve managed to translate another Quasimodo poem, but not one of his pre-war efforts. This is post-war, that hint of ever-present doom within the pastoral scene, and yet...
Almost a Madrigal
The sunflower bends to the west
and the day already accelerates
to ruin within its eye and the summer air
thickens and already twists the leaves and the smoke
of building sites. Everything recedes with the dry
flow of clouds and screech of lightning –
the sky’s final trick. Again,
as ever, my dear, we are struck by the change
in trees cramped within the circle
of canals. But it is still our day
and still that sun, which departs
with the thread of its tender ray.
I no longer have memories, I do not want to remember;
memory rises again from death,
life is without end. Each day
is ours. One will stop forever,
and you with me, when it seems late to us.
Here on the canal’s bank, feet
swinging, like children,
we watch the water, the nearest branches
in its shade of darkening green.
And the man who approaches in silence
does not conceal a knife in his hands,
but a geranium flower.