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MONTALE, Eugenio

(Satura, Xenia II )

Ho sceso, dandoti il braccio, almeno un milione di scale

Ho sceso, dandoti il braccio, almeno un milione di scale
e ora che non ci sei è il vuoto ad ogni gradino.
Anche così è stato breve il nostro lungo viaggio.
Il mio dura tuttora, né più mi occorrono
le coincidenze, le prenotazioni,
le trappole, gli scorni di chi crede
che la realtà sia quella che si vede.
Ho sceso milioni di scale dandoti il braccio
non già perché con quattr'occhi forse si vede di più.
Con te le ho scese perché sapevo che di noi due
le sole vere pupille, sebbene tanto offuscate,
erano le tue.

I went down a million stairs, at least, arm in arm with you.

I went down a million stairs, at least, arm in arm with you.

And now that you are not here, I feel emptiness at each step.

Our long journey was brief, though.

Mine still lasts, but I don't need

any more connections, reservations,

 traps, humiliation of those who think reality

is what we are used to see.

I went down a million of stairs, at least, arm in arm with you,

and not because with four eyes we see better that with two.

With you I went downstairs because I knew, among the two of us,

the only real eyes, although very blurred,

belonged to you.

Ik daalde met jou aan mijn arm een miljoen trappen af

Ik daalde met jou aan mijn arm een miljoen trappen af
en nu je er niet bent, wacht een leegte na iedere tree.
Goed, onze lange reis heeft kort geduurd,
ik zet de mijne voort, onwennig zonder
tabellen, plaats bespreken,
valstrikken rondom en de hoon van wie
gelooft dat werkelijkheid is wat je ziet.
Miljoenen trappen ging ik af met jou aan mijn arm
en niet omdat vier ogen zoveel meer zien dan twee.
Ik liep daar met je om redenen van blindelings vertrouwen,
één paar ziende pupillen hadden wij samen,
mistig en wel. De jouwe.

Vertaling: Eva GERLACH

Spesso il male di vivere ho incontrato

Spesso il male di vivere ho incontrato

era il rivo strozzato che gorgoglia

era l'incartocciarsi della foglia

riarsa, era il cavallo stramazzato.

Bene non seppi, fuori del prodigio

che schiude la divina Indifferenza:

era la statua nella sonnolenza

del meriggio, e la nuvola, e il falco alto levato.

Again and Again I Have Seen Life’s Evil

Again and again I have seen life's evil:

it was the strangled brook, still gurgling,

it was the curling of the shriveled leaf,

it was the fallen horse.

I have known no good except the miracle

that reveals the divine Indifference:

it was the statue in the drowsy trance

of noon, the cloud, the cruising falcon.

translated by David Young


Dikwijls heb ik de levenspijn ervaren:

in de gewurgde stortbeek, in ‘t verschrompeld

ineenkrimpen van weggeschroeide blaren,

in ‘t trekpaard door vermoeidheid neergestrompeld.

‘t Geluk ervoer ik slechts als ik me kon

onttrekken in een goddelijke vlucht:

‘t was het standbeeld soezend in de middagzon,

de witte wolk, de valk hoog in de lucht

Vertaling: Frans VAN DOOREN

La casa dei doganieri

Tu non ricordi la casa dei doganieri

Sul rialzo a strapiombo sulla scogliera:

Desolata t’attende dalla sera

In cui v’entrò lo sciame dei tuoi pensieri

E vi sostò irrequieto.

Libeccio sferza da anni le vecchie mura

E il suono del tuo riso non è più lieto:

La bussola va impazzita all’avventura

E il calcolo dei dadi più non torna.

Tu non ricordi; altro tempo frastorna

La tua memoria; un filo s’addipana.

Ne tengo ancora un capo; ma s’allontana

La casa e in cima al tetto la banderuola

Affumicata gira senza pietà.

Ne tengo un capo; ma tu resti sola

Né qui respiri nell’oscurità.

Oh l’orizzonte in fuga, dove s’accende

Rara la luce della petroliera!

Il varco è qui? (Ripullula il frangente

Ancora sulla balza che scoscende …)

Tu non ricordi la casa di questa

Mia sera. Ed io non so chi va e chi resta.

The House of the Customs-Men

You do not remember the house of the customs-men

On the edge of the steep cliff overhanging the reef:

Desolate it has been waiting for you since that evening

When the swarm of your thoughts entered it,

And paused there, restless.

The south wind has battered the old walls for years

And the sound of your laughter is no longer gay:

The compass veers crazily at random

And the numbers on the dice no longer tally.

You do not remember; another time confuses

Your memory; and a thread is wound.

I still hold an end of it; but the house

recedes, and on top of the roof the weathervane,

Blackened by smoke, spins pitilessly.

I hold an end of it; but you remain alone

And do not breathe here in the darkness.

Oh the retreating horizon, where

the tanker’s light rarely flares!

Is this the way through? (The breakers seethe

As ever at the plunging cliffs …)

You do not remember the house of this

My evening. And I do not know who is going and who remains.

To Spend the Afternoon

To spend the afternoon, absorbed and pale,

beside a burning garden wall;

to hear, among the stubble and the thorns,

the blackbirds cackling and the rustling snakes.

On the cracked earth or in the vetch

to spy on columns of red ants

now crossing, now dispersing,

atop their miniature heaps.

To ponder, peering through the leaves,

the heaving of the scaly sea

while the cicadas' wavering screech

goes up from balding peaks.

And walking out into the sunlight's glare

to feel with melancholy wonder

how all of life and its travail

is in this following a wall

topped with the shards of broken bottles.

                                                                 translated by David Young

Glory of Expanded Noon

Glory of expanded noon

when the trees give up no shade,

and more and more the look of things

is turning bronze, from excess light.

Above, the sun—and a dry shore;

so my day is not yet done:

the finest hour is over the low wall,

closed off by a pale setting sun.

Drought all around: kingfisher hovers

over something life has left.

The good rain is beyond the barrenness,

but there's greater joy in waiting.

                                                                  translated by Jonathan Galassi