Giuseppe Ungaretti, by Serena Maffia
..The Selected Poems, Bilingual Edition by Giuseppe Ungaretti is
almost due back to the library, and I've already renewed it once!
I might just have to break down and buy myself a copy. So, before
I have to return it, here's another of his wonderful poems. I thought
this one would be especially appropriate to coincide with the full
October moon and it is one that translates nicely into English.
I was always ready for departures.
When you have secrets, night, you're merciful.
When as a child I woke up
Startled, I'd soothe myself listening
To howlings in the hollow street--
Stray dogs. More than the little lamp
That burned forever in that room
Near the Madonna, they seemed
Like mystical company.
And was it not in chasing
Echos from before my birth,
I surprised myself with hear, a man?
But when, night, your face was bare
And cast on rock
I was nothing but fiber, elemental,
Crazed, apparent in every object,
Lowliness crushed me.
The Captain was serene.
(The moon came into the sky)
He was tall and never bowed.
The Captain, 1929
translated by Andrew Frisardi