One has just been sent out as a biblical dove, has found nothing green, and slips back
into the darkness of the ark -- Kafka

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Two Poems by Eugenio Montale

Both of these poems are from The Storm & Other Poems (my copy is a slick little book: black and white cover design from Gustave Dore's illustrations to Dante's Inferno).


ON THE GREVE

Now a glance no longer sustains me
as once it did, when you would lean out at my whistle
and I could hardly see you. A boulder, a deep, splayed
furrow, the black flight of a swallow,
a lid clamped on the cauldron of the world . . .

Bread to me is that velvet bud
which opens out to a mandolin's glissando,
water your rustle flowing;
your deep, deep breath is wine.



SYRIA

The ancients said that poetry
is a stairway to God. Maybe it isn't so
if you read me. But I knew it the day
that I found the voice for you again, loosed
in a flock of clouds and goats
bursting out of a ravine to browse the slaver
of thorn and bulrush; the lean faces
of the moon and sun became one face,
the car was broken down and an arrow
of blood on a boulder pointed
the way to Aleppo.


[Both poems above translated by Charles Wright]
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