The lampblack of the mirror holds
no shadow of flight. (And of yours no trace remains.)
The sponge has passed across the golden circle,
given the defenseless glimmers chase.
I searched there for your stones, the corals,
the strong power taking you;
I flee the goddess who won't be flesh,
bear my desires till they're burned in your flash.
Elytra drone outside, the insane
funeral drones on and knows two lives don't count.
Evening's soft medusas reappear
inside the frame. Your stamp will come
from below: where pale, contorted
hands affix the corals to your ears.
Eugenio Montale, Collected Poems 1920-1954
translated by Jonathan Galassi
Many of you were interested in more of Montale's poetry, so I chose this particular piece that brings to mind Graham Greene's novel, The End of the Affair, made into two films, the latest in 1999, starring Julianne Moore and Ralph Fiennes. As usual, the book is better than the movie, but I do love this wonderful, dark, wet, foggy, romantic film set in WWII England. Montale's poem brought to mind this film, because Moore, in the role of Sarah Miles, wears a lovely pair of vintage coral earrings in several scenes, before her character meets an untimely death. I couldn't find a good photo of her wearing the coral earrings, but her wardrobe, hair and makeup in this film are exquisite!
elytra or wings of a maybug