Monday, February 12, 2007



Evening falls: once more the earth departs –
the images we love, trees,
animals, the poor trapped
in soldiers’ coats, mothers
whose tears have dried out their wombs.
The snow on the lawns shines at us
like a moon. Oh, you dead. Strike
at my forehead, strike towards my heart.
Someone should at least cry in the silence,
in this white sphere of the buried.

- Salvatore Quasimodo, 1947 (my translation)


Andrew Shields said...

In the breaks between the trees: snow
in the spaces between the words: snow
in the hollows between the houses: snow
in the yards between the fences: snow
and cold
in the ponds between the pubs: snow
in the holes between the oaks: snow
in the dreams between the fields: snow
in the plates and pleats: snow

(Ilma Rakusa, tr. Andrew Shields, "A Farewell to Everything," Shearsman Books)

apprentice said...

Both stunning pieces. Rob the date on your translation is helpful too.

Dave said...


Anonymous said...

It's a long, long time since I've read Quasimodo (poems eventually return to their original alphabet soup), and I'm surprised by how much like early Rilke he sounds here...

Rob said...

Thanks everyone, and thanks, Andrew, for the Rakusa poem, which I didn't know. I'm having doubts about my tanslation of Snow, but that's the way these things go. I'll keep working on it.

Marly, interesting point about Rilke. I hadn't thought about that.