La Poesia italiana del Novecento - The italian Poetry of the 20th century

Davide Rondoni




When you too stop in this great

motorway caff and see

yout own exhausted face run

on the windows, on the aluminium counter,

it’ll be an evening like this

that breaks up in wind the light

and clouds of the day, it'll be

a great moment:

only you and I will know.

You will set off again

slightly upset, with almost a stir

of memory and the separate silences

of the shelves of objects, the petrolpump men and their caps,

you’l1 feel bebind you nimbly

becoming a poem.

The happiness of time is saying yes

you are there, a hidden power

gives you a shock, not my

youth which is going, not my

maturity, not my growing old -

the real likeness between us

is in a place where it can't be seen.

My son, my traveller,

it's going to be your hell, your talent

this sense of hearing like a dogs or angel's

which picks up as one tune the swing of the planets

and the fall of a pill in a glass

two storeys down, where two old people

are being cared for.

This very noisy love

will be your father, the real one.

Stay longer here in the motorway caff,

it'll please me in the dark to see you again...

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Davide Rondoni



Pregnant Says the Test




Don't call him, he's coming

full of his near-translucent strength,

already he's a part of your smile

he comes like the scent from the woods,

a nothing with the unforeseen snout

of a hare, he is already a fold

in your hands, he sits

on the throne you're turning into.



He is a growth

with an excess of clouds,

he's frightening like the starting-up of a wind

that bends the branches but revives the colours.

My love, beautiful and full of worry,

his mark is there already on our

shape. Happiness

is waiting, happiness is time.



From Il Bar del Tempo, 1999





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I don't, myself, have rivers,

l've never lived leaning out

with my face over the water

that stili or eddying round

carves through the city, ennobles or in whirls

steals away all its thoughts.

I've not had

flights of wide stone steps on which to lie stretched out

losing under the sunshine

the light of the intellect, dozing off.

1 had avenues,

streets broad and full of noise, the high trajectory

of slip-roads,

those open arms of a mother who is poor

veins by which every kind of stuff

comes into town.

1 have had avenues of trees

or blasts of vertigo between the steel of walls

and darkened glass.

The confusion

makes them identical, under the rain

they amount to hell,


But at night, when night

does fall

tbey are drawn again,

fresh avenues

of shade and loneliness,

when the drooping necks of lamp-posts

light them up and the switching off

of the last advertisement signs.

They begin to move then, very lightly,

they branch out, perhaps the whole city

rotates a little;

somebody ends up

face to face with a castle or a

cathedral, others lose their tan

under the orange lamps of a motorway junction -

the avenues at night breathe

with the leaves of plane-trees, broad black fans,

with the grilles of the underground and the lullaby air

that sleeps over children.

They draw breath when

the passenger of the last tram goes -

The avenues give me

a special life

which is not tears and joy,

no, but a windy emptiness,

a sense of going

going on and on

that comes to me from who knows what seas,

what valleys, what great rivers.

Translated by Alistair Elliott