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QUASIMODO, Salvatore

Colours of Rain and Iron

You said: death, silence, solitude,
like love, and life. Words
of our random images.
And each morning the wind rose light,
and time with the colour of rain and iron
passed on the stones
and our muffled drone of the damned.
Truth is still far away.
Tell me, man, split on the cross,
and you with your blood-clotted hands,
how shall I answer those that ask?
Say, now: before other silence
fills up our eyes, before other wind
rises, and other rust flowers.


Cicadas, sisters, in the sun

amongst you I hide,

in the heights of poplars

and gaze at the stars…

To My Father

Where Messina lay

violet upon the waters, among the mangled wires

and rubble, you walk along the rails

and switches in your islanders'

cock-of-the-walk beret. For three days now,

the earthquake boils, it's hurricane December

and a poisoned sea. Our nights fall

into the freight cars; we, young livestock,

count our dusty dreams with the dead

crushed by iron, munching almonds

and apples dried in garlands. The science

of pain put truth and blades into our games

on the lowlands of yellow malaria

and tertian fever swollen with mud.

Your patience, sand and delicate,

robbed us of fear,

a lesson of days linked to the death

we had betrayed, to the scorn of the thieves

seized among the debris, and executed in the dark

by the firing squads of the landing parties, a tally

of low numbers adding up exact

concentric, a scale of future life.

Uomo Del Mio Tempo

You are still the one with the stone and the sling,

Man of my time. You were in the cockpit,

With the malevolent wings, the meridians of death,

-I have seen you - in the chariot of fire, at the gallows,

At the wheels of torture. I have seen you: it was you,

With your exact science set on extermination,

Without love, without Christ. You have killed again,

As always, as your fathers killed,

as the animals killed that saw you for the first time.

And this blood smells as on the day

When one brother told the other brother:

'Let us go into the fields.' And that echo, chill, tenacious,

Has reached down to you, within your day.

Forgot, O sons, the clouds of blood

Risen from the earth, forget your fathers:

Their tombs sink down in ashes,

Black birds, the wind, cover their heart.

Nemica della morte/Enemy Of Death

(For Rossana Sironi)

You should not have

ripped out your image

taken from us, from the world,

a portion of beauty.

What can we do

we enemies of death,

bent to your feet of rose,

your breast of violet?

Not a word, not a scrap

of your last day, a No

to earth’s things, a No

to our dull human record.

The sad moon in summer,

the dragging anchor, took

your dreams, hills, trees,

light, waters, darkness,

not dim thoughts but truths,

severed from the mind

that suddenly decided,

time and all future evil.

Now you are shut

behind heavy doors

enemy of death.

Who cries?

You have blown out beauty

with a breath, torn her,

dealt her the death-wound,

without a tear

for her insensate shadow’s

spreading over us.

Destroyed solitude,

and beauty, failed.

You have signalled

into the dark,

inscribed your name in air,

your No

to everything that crowds here

and beyond the wind.

I know what you were

looking for in your new dress.

I understand the unanswered question.

Neither for you nor us, a reply.

Oh, flowers and moss,

Oh, enemy of death.

Ed È Subito Sera

Ognuno sta solo sul cuor della terra trafitto da un raggio di Sole:

ed è subito sera. »

Everyone stands alone at the heart of the world

pierced by a ray of sunlight,

and suddenly it is evening.

Strada di Agrigentum

Là dura un vento che ricordo acceso

nelle criniere dei cavalli obliqui in

corsa lungo le pianure, vento che

macchia e rode l’arenaria e il cuore dei

telamoni lugubri, riversi sopra l’erba.

Anima antica, grigia di rancori, torni

a quel vento, annusi il delicato

muschio che riveste i giganti sospinti

giù dal cielo. Come sola allo spazio

che ti resta! E più t’accori s’odi

ancora il suono che s’allontana largo

verso il mare dove Espero già striscia

mattutino: il marranzano tristemente

vibra nella gola al carraio che risale

il colle nitido di luna, lento tra il

murmure d’ulivi saraceni.

Street in Agrigentum

There is still the wind that I remember

firing the manes of horses, racing,

slanting, across the plains,

the wind that stains and scours the sandstone,

and the heart of gloomy columns, telamons,

overthrown in the grass. Spirit of the ancients, grey

with rancour, return on the wind,

breathe in that feather-light moss

that covers those giants, hurled down by heaven.

How alone in the space that’s still yours!

And greater, your pain, if you hear, once more,

the sound that moves, far off, towards the sea,

where Hesperus streaks the sky with morning:

the jew’s-harp vibrates in the waggoner’s mouth

as he climbs the hill of moonlight, slow,

in the murmur of Saracen olive trees.

Wind at Tindari

Tindari, I know you

mild between broad hills, overhanging the waters

of the god’s sweet islands.

Today, you confront me

and break into my heart.

I climb airy peaks, precipices,

following the wind in the pines,

and the crowd of them, lightly accompanying me,

fly off into the air,

wave of love and sound,

and you take me to you,

you from whom I wrongly drew

evil, and fear of silence, shadow,

- refuge of sweetness, once certain -

and death of spirit.

It is unknown to you, that country

where each day I go down deep

to nourish secret syllables.

A different light strips you, behind the windows

clothed in night,

and another joy than mine

lies against you.

Exile is harsh

and the search, for harmony, that ended in you

changes today

to a precocious anxiousness for death,

and every love is a shield against sadness,

a silent stair in the gloom,

where you station me

to break my bitter bread.

Return, serene Tindari,

stir me, sweet friend,

to raise myself to the sky from the rock,

so that I might shape fear, for those who do not know

what deep wind has searched me.

Nostalgia and Regre/ ( Ora che sale il giorno

Now the day breaks

night is done and the moon

slowly dissolved in serene air

sets in the canals.

September is so alive in this country

of plains, the meadows are green

as in the southern valleys in spring.

I have left my companions,

I have hidden my heart behind ancient walls,

to be alone, to remember.

Since you are further off than the moon,

now the day breaks

and the horses’ hooves beat on the stones.

Mirror/Ed ecco sul tronco

And see, buds break

out of the tree:

a newer green in the grass

eases the heart:

the tree seemed already dead,

bowed on the slope

And all I know of miracle;

and I am this watery cloud

that reflected today in the ditches,

the more blue, its fragment of heaven,

this green that splits the bark

that only last night was not there.

Already the rain is with us/Già la pioggia è con noi

Already the rain is with us,

shaking the silent air.

Swallows skim the dull waters,

by the lakes of Lombardy,

swoop like seagulls after tiny fish;

there’s a scent of hay beyond the garden fences.