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Saturday, 27 November 2010

Ungaretti: What would I want with images?


File:Gentle waves come in at a sandy beach.JPG

Waves on sandy beach, Cabo Polonio, Uruguay: photo by Johntex, 2006

..These wandering landscapes of the ocean's

Shifting surface, the incisive

Candour of daybreak on these

Or those leaves: these things no longer

Draw me; nor can my old eyes make

Out light from shade against the stones.

..Forgot, what would I want

With images?


Leaves of European Birch (Fagus): photo by The cat, 2006

..Non più m'attragano i paesaggi erranti

Del mare, né dell'alba il lacerante

Pallore sopra queste o quelle foglie;

Nemmeno più contrasto col macigno,

Antica notte che sugli occhi porto.

..Le immagini a che prò

Per me dimenticata?

File:Foggy sunset at Land's End.jpg

Foggy sunset with Brown Pelicans: photo by Mila Zinkova, 2009

Giuseppe Ungaretti: Poem IX (Non più m'attragano i paesaggi erranti) from Cori descrittivi di stati d'animo di Didone (Choruses Descriptive of the State of Mind of Dido), in La terra promessa (The Promised Land), 1950; translation by TC




As was the one above it, another beautiful translation of another beautiful, mysterious Ungaretti poem -- "Candor of of daybreak on these/ Or those leaves" (indeed). . . .

TC said...

Thanks, Steve. Yes, his late beautiful, mysterious phase.

"Candour of daybreak" was my way of getting around "lacerating pallor".

(One hopes that choice would have been okay with Ungaretti and the ghost of Dido.)



Thanks for this and yes, that "candor of morning" is lovely -- some whiteness here this morning -- first sight of half moon overhead, whiteness of red roof (Jack Frost left his calling card), and now whiteness there in palest blue of sky above the ridge. . . .


light coming into sky above still black
ridge, white half moon next to branches
in foreground, sound of wave in channel

as it begins to be from now
on, everywhere now is

to which at each given time
thought, that is, has

grey-white clouds reflected in channel,
wingspan of pelican flapping across it



Johnny and I hiked out the Palo Marin trail yesterday afternoon, very cold, northwest wind, clouds moving down across the horizon, grey rain sweeping across below them, thinking of all the murres out there on Farallons (in Duncan Wright's photos). . . .

SarahA said...

Whether the images or words shine more, I am not knowing; but.....I AM knowing that they *dance* well together.

You are very good at this translation business Thomas. Does such change in the process? I am thinking not, for still I see beauty within such.

TC said...

11.28 is splendour, Steve.

as it begins to be from now
on, everywhere now is

to which at each given time

(Everything has to have had a beginning at some time)

Yes, fierce chill here also. Breath-puffs indoors. Coldest early winter I can remember here since the first week of December in the prelude to the First Iraq War.

TC said...


This poet has lots of inner shine and *dance*.

(He grew up beneath the southern stars of Eqypt, maybe that has something to do with it.)

The languages are so different, English so much "harder" than Italian.

But the inner music, the idea, the minimal kernel of the thing, perhaps that can be brought across, or anyway suggested, just a bit.

Still in the end, two different poems, I fear -- but blood relations, maybe, I would almost like to dare to think.


Thanks Tom, you've got a better memory than I -- more white frost on red roof this morning, another down quilt and jacket on the bed last night, will be colder still out there in the water (soon). . . .