Il silenzio, Federico Garcia Lorca

Ascolta, figlio, il silenzio.
È un silenzio ondulato,
un silenzio,
dove scivolano valli ed echi
e che piega le fronti
al suolo.

El silencio 

Oye, hijo mío, el silencio.
Es un silencio ondulado,
un silencio,
donde resbalan valles y ecos
y que inclina las frentes
hacia el suelo.

Poema de la seguiriya gitana (Cante Jondo) 1921

The Silence

Listen, my child, to the silence.
It’s an undulating silence,
a silence
that brings valleys and echoes down
and bows foreheads
to the ground.

Translated by Scott Keeney


Andrea Bocelli & Lola Astanova – The Journey to the Theatre of Silence (Full film), 2017

Rose, Mary Oliver

Tutti di tanto in tanto si interrogano su
quelle domande che non hanno delle risposte
pronte: la Causa Prima, l’esistenza di Dio,
cosa succede quando il sipario
cala e nulla lo ferma, non baciando,
non andando al centro commerciale, non al Super Bowl.

“Rose selvatiche,” dissi loro una mattina.
“Avete le risposte? E se le aveste,
vorreste dirmele?”

Le rose risero dolcemente “Perdonaci,”
dissero. “Ma come puoi vedere, al momento siamo
completamente occupate ad essere rose”.


Everyone now and again wonders about
those questions that have no ready
answers: first cause, God’s existence,
what happens when the curtain goes
down and nothing stops it, not kissing,
not going to the mall, not the Super

“Wild roses,” I said to them one morning.
“Do you have the answers? And if you do,
would you tell me?”

The roses laughed softly. “Forgive us,”
they said. “But as you can see, we are
just now entirely busy being roses.”

From Felicity – New York, Penguin, 2016

Ieri è storia, Emily Dickinson

Ieri è Storia,
È così remoto –
Ieri è Poesia –
è Filosofia –

Ieri è mistero –
Dove sia Oggi
Mentre acutamente speculiamo
Entrambi volano via

(Traduzione di Giuseppe Ierolli)

Yesterday is History

Yesterday is History,
‘Tis so far away –
Yesterday is Poetry –
‘tis Philosophy –

Yesterday is mystery –
Where it is Today
While we shrewdly speculate
Flutter both away

Sorrisi, da “Grande numero” (1976), Wislawa Szymborska

Il mondo vuol vedere la speranza sul viso.
Per gli statisti si fa d’obbligo il sorriso.
Sorridere vuol dire non darsi allo sconforto.
Anche se il gioco è complesso, l’esito incerto,
gli interessi contrastanti – è sempre consolante
che la dentatura sia bianca e ben smagliante.

Devono mostrare una fronte rasserenata
sulla pista e nella sala delle conferenze.
Un’andatura svelta, un’espressione distesa.
Quello dà il benvenuto, quest’altro si accomiata.
E’ quanto mai opportuno un volto sorridente
per gli obiettivi e tutta la gente lì in attesa.

La stomatologia in forza alla diplomazia
garantisce sempre un risultato impressionante.
Canini di buona volontà e incisivi lieti
non possono mancare quando l’aria è pesante.
I nostri tempi non sono ancora così allegri
perché sui visi traspaia la malinconia.

Un’umanità fraterna, dicono i sognatori,
trasformerà la terra nel paese del sorriso.
Ho qualche dubbio. Gli statisti, se fosse vero,
non dovrebbero sorridere il giorno intero.
Solo a volte: perché è primavera, tanti i fiori,
non c’è fretta alcuna, né tensione in viso.
Gli esseri umani sono tristi per natura.
È quanto mi aspetto, e non è poi così dura.

(Traduzione di Pietro Marchesani)


The world would rather see hope than just hear
its song. And that’s why statesmen have to smile.
Their pearly whites mean they’re still full of cheer.
The game’s complex, the goal’s far out of reach,
the outcome’s still unclear – once in a while,
we need a friendly, gleaming set of teeth.

Heads of state must display unfurrowed brows
on airport runways, in the conference room.
They must embody one big, toothy “Wow!”
while pressing flesh or pressing urgent issues.
Their faces’ self-regenerating tissues
make our hearts hum and our lenses zoom.

Dentistry turned to diplomatic skill
promises us a Golden Age tomorrow.
The going’s rough, and so we need the laugh
of bright incisors, molars of good will.
Our times are still not safe and sane enough
for faces to show ordinary sorrow.

Dreamers keep saying, “Human brotherhood
will make this place a smiling paradise.”
I’m not convinced. The statesman, in that case,
would not require facial exercise,
except from time to time: he’s feeling good,
he’s glad it’s spring, and so he moves his face.
But human beings are, by nature, sad.
So be it, then. It isn’t all that bad

(Translated from Polish by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh)

We Ain’t Got No Money, Honey, But We Got Rain, Charles Bukowski

call it the greenhouse effect or whatever
but it just doesn’t rain like it used to.
I particularly remember the rains of the
depression era.
there wasn’t any money but there was
plenty of rain.
it wouldn’t rain for just a night or
a day,
it would RAIN for 7 days and 7
and in Los Angeles the storm drains
weren’t built to carry off that much
and the rain came down THICK and
MEAN and
and you HEARD it banging against
the roofs and into the ground
waterfalls of it came down
from roofs
and there was HAIL
exploding smashing into things
and the rain
just wouldn’t
and all the roofs leaked-
cooking pots
were placed all about;
they dripped loudly
and had to be emptied
again and
the rain came up over the street curbings,
across the lawns, climbed up the steps and
entered the houses.
there were mops and bathroom towels,
and the rain often came up through the
toilets:bubbling, brown, crazy,whirling,
and all the old cars stood in the streets,
cars that had problems starting on a
sunny day,
and the jobless men stood
looking out the windows
at the old machines dying
like living things out there.
the jobless men,
failures in a failing time
were imprisoned in their houses with their
wives and children
and their
the pets refused to go out
and left their waste in
strange places.
the jobless men went mad
confined with
their once beautiful wives.
there were terrible arguments
as notices of foreclosure
fell into the mailbox.
rain and hail, cans of beans,
bread without butter;fried
eggs, boiled eggs, poached
eggs; peanut butter
sandwiches, and an invisible
chicken in every pot.
my father, never a good man
at best, beat my mother
when it rained
as I threw myself
between them,
the legs, the knees, the
until they
“I’ll kill you,” I screamed
at him. “You hit her again
and I’ll kill you!”
“Get that son-of-a-bitching
kid out of here!”
“no, Henry, you stay with
your mother!”
all the households were under
siege but I believe that ours
held more terror than the
and at night
as we attempted to sleep
the rains still came down
and it was in bed
in the dark
watching the moon against
the scarred window
so bravely
holding out
most of the rain,
I thought of Noah and the
and I thought, it has come
we all thought
and then, at once, it would
and it always seemed to
around 5 or 6 a.m.,
peaceful then,
but not an exact silence
because things continued to

and there was no smog then
and by 8 a.m.
there was a
blazing yellow sunlight,
Van Gogh yellow-
crazy, blinding!
and then
the roof drains
relieved of the rush of
began to expand in the warmth:
and everybody got up and looked outside
and there were all the lawns
still soaked
greener than green will ever
and there were birds
on the lawn
CHIRPING like mad,
they hadn’t eaten decently
for 7 days and 7 nights
and they were weary of
they waited as the worms
rose to the top,
half drowned worms.
the birds plucked them
and gobbled them
down;there were
blackbirds and sparrows.
the blackbirds tried to
drive the sparrows off
but the sparrows,
maddened with hunger,
smaller and quicker,
got their
the men stood on their porches
smoking cigarettes,
now knowing
they’d have to go out
to look for that job
that probably wasn’t
there, to start that car
that probably wouldn’t
and the once beautiful
stood in their bathrooms
combing their hair,
applying makeup,
trying to put their world back
together again,
trying to forget that
awful sadness that
gripped them,
wondering what they could
fix for
and on the radio
we were told that
school was now
there I was
on the way to school,
massive puddles in the
the sun like a new
my parents back in that
I arrived at my classroom
on time.
Mrs. Sorenson greeted us
with, “we won’t have our
usual recess, the grounds
are too wet.”
“AW!” most of the boys
“but we are going to do
something special at
recess,” she went on,
“and it will be
well, we all wondered
what that would
and the two hour wait
seemed a long time
as Mrs.Sorenson
went about
teaching her
I looked at the little
girls, they looked so
pretty and clean and
they sat still and
and their hair was
in the California
the the recess bells rang
and we all waited for the
then Mrs. Sorenson told us:
“now, what we are going to
do is we are going to tell
each other what we did
during the rainstorm!
we’ll begin in the front row
and go right around!
now, Michael, you’re first!. . .”
well, we all began to tell
our stories, Michael began
and it went on and on,
and soon we realized that
we were all lying, not
exactly lying but mostly
lying and some of the boys
began to snicker and some
of the girls began to give
them dirty looks and
Mrs.Sorenson said,
“all right! I demand a
modicum of silence
I am interested in what
you did
during the rainstorm
even if you
so we had to tell our
stories and they were
one girl said that
when the rainbow first
she saw God’s face
at the end of it.
only she didn’t say which end.
one boy said he stuck
his fishing pole
out the window
and caught a little
and fed it to his
almost everybody told
a lie.
the truth was just
too awful and
embarrassing to tell.
then the bell rang
and recess was
“thank you,” said Mrs.
Sorenson, “that was very
and tomorrow the grounds
will be dry
and we will put them
to use
most of the boys
and the little girls
sat very straight and
looking so pretty and
clean and
their hair beautiful in a sunshine that
the world might never see

From The Last Night of the Earth Poems
Published in 1992 by Black Sparrow Press

Consiglio amichevole a molti giovani uomini, Charles Bukowski

Andate in Tibet.
Cavalcate un cammello.
Leggete la bibbia.
Tingetevi le scarpe di blu.
Fatevi crescere la barba.
Fate il giro del mondo in una canoa fatta di carta.
Abbonatevi al Saturday Evening Post.
Masticate soltanto dalla parte sinistra della bocca.
Sposate una donna con una gamba sola e fatevi la barba con un rasoio a lama.
E incidete il vostro nome sul suo braccio.

Lavatevi i denti con la benzina.
Dormite tutto il giorno e arrampicatevi sugli alberi la notte.
Fatevi monaci e bevete pallettoni e birra.
Tenete la testa sott’acqua e suonate il violino.
Fate la danza del ventre davanti a candele rosa.
Uccidete il vostro cane.
Candidatevi a sindaco.
Vivete in una botte.
Rompetevi la testa con un’accetta.
Piantate tulipani nella pioggia.

Ma non scrivete poesie.

Friendly advice to a lot of young men

Go to Tibet.
Ride a camel.
Read the Bible.
Dye your shoes blue.
Grow a Beard.
Circle the world in a paper canoe.
Subscribe to “The Saturday Evening Post.”
Chew on the left side of your mouth only.
Marry a woman with one leg and shave with a straight razor.
And carve your name in her arm.

Brush your teeth with gasoline.
Sleep all day and climb trees at night.
Be a monk and drink buckshot and beer.
Hold your head under water and play the violin.
Do a belly dance before pink candles.
Kill your dog.
Run for mayor.
Live in a barrel.
Break your head with a hatchet.
Plant tulips in the rain.

But don’t write poetry.

From “The Roominghouse Madrigals: Early Selected Poems 1946-1966”

Stanchezza, da “Poesie di Álvaro de Campos”, Fernando Pessoa

Quello che c’è in me è soprattutto stanchezza
non di questo o di quello
e neppure di tutto o di niente:
stanchezza semplicemente, in sé,
La sottigliezza delle sensazioni inutili,
le violente passioni per nulla,
gli amori intensi per ciò che si suppone in qualcuno,
tutte queste cose –
queste e ciò che manca in esse eternamente –
tutto ciò produce stanchezza,
questa stanchezza,
C’è senza dubbio chi ama l’infinito,
c’è senza dubbio chi desidera l’impossibile,
c’è senza dubbio chi non vuole niente –
tre tipi di idealisti, e io nessuno di questi:
perché io amo infinitamente il finito,
perché io desidero impossibilmente il possibile,
perché voglio tutto, o ancora di più, se può essere,
o anche se non può essere…
E il risultato?
Per loro la vita vissuta o sognata,
per loro il sogno sognato o vissuto,
per loro la media fra tutto e niente, cioè la vita…
Per me solo una grande, una profonda,
e, ah, con quale felicità, infeconda stanchezza,
una supremissima stanchezza,
issima, issima, issima,

(Traduzione di Antonio Tabucchi)

O que há em mim é sobretudo cansaço —

O que há em mim é sobretudo cansaço —
Não disto nem daquilo,
Nem sequer de tudo ou de nada:
Cansaço assim mesmo, ele mesmo,
A subtileza das sensações inúteis,
As paixões violentas por coisa nenhuma,
Os amores intensos por o suposto em alguém,
Essas coisas todas —
Essas e o que falta nelas eternamente —;
Tudo isso faz um cansaço,
Este cansaço,
Há sem dúvida quem ame o infinito,
Há sem dúvida quem deseje o impossível,
Há sem dúvida quem não queira nada —
Três tipos de idealistas, e eu nenhum deles:
Porque eu amo infinitamente o finito,
Porque eu desejo impossivelmente o possível,
Porque quero tudo, ou um pouco mais, se puder ser,
Ou até se não puder ser…
E o resultado?
Para eles a vida vivida ou sonhada,
Para eles o sonho sonhado ou vivido,
Para eles a média entre tudo e nada, isto é, isto…
Para mim só um grande, um profundo,
E, ah com que felicidade infecundo, cansaço,
Um supremíssimo cansaço,
Íssimo, íssimo, íssimo,

(Poesias de Álvaro de Campos. Fernando Pessoa. Lisboa: Ática, 1944)

Familiarità, da “Poesie” (1923-1976), Jorge Luis Borges

A Haydée Lange

Si apre il cancello del giardino
con la docilità della pagina
che una frequente devozione interroga
e, dentro, gli sguardi
non hanno bisogno di fare caso agli oggetti
che sono già precisamente nella memoria.
Conosco le abitudini e gli animi
e quel dialetto di allusioni
che ogni raggruppamento umano ordisce.
Non ho bisogno di parlare
né di mentire privilegi;
bene mi conoscono coloro che qui mi circondano,
bene sanno le mie angosce e la mia debolezza.
Questo è raggiungere ciò che è più alto,
ciò che forse ci darà il Cielo:
non ammirazione né vittorie
ma semplicemente essere ammessi
come parte di una Realtà innegabile,
come le pietre e gli alberi.

(Traduzione di Livio Bacchi Wilcock)

Llaneza *

A Haydée Lange

Se abre la verja del jardín
con la docilidad de la página
que una frecuente devoción interroga
y adentro las miradas
no precisan fijarse en los objetos
que ya están cabalmente en la memoria.
Conozco las costumbres y las almas
y ese dialecto de alusiones
que toda agrupación humana va urdiendo.
No necesito hablar
ni mentir privilegios;
bien me conocen quienes aquí me rodean
bien saben mi congoja y mi flaqueza.
Eso es alcanzar lo más alto,
lo que tal vez nos dará el Cielo:
no admiraciones ni victorias
sino sencillamente ser admitidos
como parte de una Realidad innegable,
como las piedras y los árboles.

En Fervor de Buenos Aires (1923)

* Borges se inspiró en la casa de los Lange, para escribir este poema. Estaba ubicada en ese momento, en la calle Tronador 1746, entre La Pampa y Virrey del Pino.


It opens, the gate to the garden
with the docility of a page
that frequent devotion questions
and inside, my gaze
has no need to fix on objects
that already exist, exact, in memory.
I know the customs and souls
and that dialect of allusions
that every human gathering goes weaving.
I’ve no need to speak
nor claim false privilege;
they know me well who surround me here,
know well my afflictions and weakness.
This is to reach the highest thing,
that Heaven perhaps will grant us:
not admiration or victory
but simply to be accepted
as part of an undeniable Reality,
like stones and trees.

Translated by A. S. Kline © 2008

Le tue mani, da “Poesie d’amore” (1997), Pablo Neruda

Quando le tue mani vengono,
amore, verso le mie,
cosa mi recano volando?
Perché si son fermate
sulla mia bocca, d’improvviso.
Perché le riconosco
come se allora, anzi,
le avessi toccate,
come se prima d’essere
avessero percorso
la mia fronte, il mio fianco?

La loro morbidezza veniva
volando sopra il tempo,
sopra il mare, sopra il fumo,
sopra la primavera,
e quando tu posasti
le tue mani sul mio petto,
riconobbi quelle ali
di colomba dorata,
riconobbi quella creta
e quel colore di frumento.

Gli anni della mia vita
camminai cercandole.
Salii le scale,
attraversai le scogliere,
mi portarono i treni,
le acque mi condussero,
e nella pelle dell’uva
mi sembrò di toccarti.

Il legno d’improvviso
mi recò il tuo contatto,
la mandorla m’annunciava
la tua morbidezza concreta,
finché si chiusero le tue mani sul mio petto
e lì come due ali
terminarono il loro viaggio.

(Traduzione di Giuseppe Bellini)

Tus Manos

Cuando tus manos salen,
y amor, hacia las mías,
qué me traen volando?
Por qué se detuvieron en mi boca,
de pronto,
por qué las reconozco
como si entonces antes,
las hubiera tocado,
como si antes de ser
hubieran recorrido
mi frente, mi cintura?

Su suavidad venía
volando sobre el tiempo,
sobre el mar, sobre el humo,
sobre la primavera,
y cuando tú pusiste
tus manos en mi pecho,
reconocí esas alas
de paloma dorada,
reconocí esa greda
y ese color de trigo.

Los años de mi vida
yo caminé buscándolas.
Subí las escaleras,
crucé los arrecifes,
me llevaron los trenes,
las aguas me trajeron,
y en la piel de las uvas
me pareció tocarte.
La madera de pronto
me trajo tu contacto,
la almendra me anunciaba
tu suavidad secreta,
hasta que se cerraron
tus manos en mi pecho
y allí como dos alas
terminaron su viaje.

Pablo Neruda, Los versos del Capitán

Your Hands

When your hands go out,
love, toward mine,
what do they bring me flying?
Why do they stop
at my mouth, suddenly,
why do I recognize them
as if then, before,
I had touched them,
as if before they existed
they had passed over
my forehead, my waist?

Their softness came
flying over time,
over the sea, over the smoke,
over the spring,
and when you placed
your hands on my chest,
I recognized those golden
dove wings,
I recognized that clay
and that color of wheat.

All the years of my life
I walked around looking for them.
I went up the stairs,
I crossed the roads,
trains carried me,
waters brought me,
and in the skin of the grapes
I thought I touched you.
The wood suddenly
brought me your touch,
the almond announced to me
your secret softness,
until your hands
closed on my chest
and there like two wings
they ended their journey.

Translated by Donald D. Walsh

Studioso di nuvole, da “A vela in solitaria intorno alla stanza”, Billy Collins

L’emozione va trovata nelle nuvole,
non nelle masse verdi di colline digradanti
e neppure nelle firme grigie dei fiumi,
secondo Constable, che era uno studioso delle nuvole,
e riempiva scaffali di quaderni con schizzi del loro moto,
del loro nobile aspetto e dei bruschi effetti del tempo.

All’aperto, deve avere guardato in su migliaia di volte,
con la matita che cercava di tenere il passo del loro alto viaggiare
e il silenzioso turbinio del loro fluire e rifluire.
Le nubi muovendosi internamente, facendo capriole nel proprio centro,
ruotando nei margini in fiamme fino a farsi vapore,
uscivano dai contorni disegnati
fino a dissiparsi nell’azzurro universale del cielo.

Ora con le fotografie possiamo fermare questo movimento
abbastanza a lungo per etichettarle con nomi latini.
Cirrus, nimbus, stratocumulus –
vertiginose, romantiche, autoritarie –
esibiscono i loro titoli alle scuole sottostanti
dove le loro forme e i loro significati sono mandati a memoria.

(Traduzione di Franco Nasi)

Student of Clouds

The emotion is to be found in the clouds
not in the green solids of the sloping hills
or even in the gray signatures of rivers,
according to Constable,who was a student of clouds
and filled shelves of notebooks with their motion,
their lofty gesturing and sudden implication of weather.

Outdoor, he must have looked up thousands of times,
his pencil trying to keep pace with their high voyaging
and the silent commotion of the eddying and flow.
Clouds would move beyond the outlines he would draw
as they moved within themselves, tumbling into their centers
and swirling off at the burning edges in vapors
to dissipate into the universal blue of the sky.

In photographs we can stop all this movement now
long enough to tag them with their Latin names.
Cirrus, nimbus, stratocumulus –
dizzying, romantic, authoritarian –
they bear their titles over the schoolhouses below
where their shapes and meanings are memorized.

High on the soft blue canvases of Constable
they are stuck in pigment but his clouds appear
to be moving still in the wind of his brush,
inching out of England and the nineteenth century
and sailing over these meadows where I am walking,
bareheaded beneath the cupola of motion,
my thoughts arranged like paint on a high blue ceiling.


Ludovico Einaudi, Nuvole bianche