by Alex Valente.
Original Italian by Virgilia D’Andrea (1888 – 1933).
Tall and serious, his brow stark
his face towards the wide sea…
But the eyes now dark
speak of a bitter history.
“Do you not dance?” a girl asks
appearing light from the haze
“Time for joy at last,
our Country offers you praise
You are the winner… then why
do you reject the kiss of victory?
For each of your spent eye
our Country gives you all this glory.”
Bound couples wander pale
slowly and freely, as dreaming
on their mouths like a veil
a desire for love, that old feeling
He, lost, emits a sob.
Even covered with a feeble smile
the painful jab
lingers on his face a while.
“Our Country, you say? Did I understand?
It never dreamt for me any peace
this cursed land…”
His voice now almost a hiss.
In the air, a soft, slow beat…
A hint of Spring, still sleeping
and a songs of great feats
touches and smooths the evening.
“I feel the stars, making golden patterns
moving in dreams, undeterred…
To these eyes it doesn’t matter,
I cry to these lights unheard.
I do not yield to your voice, girl.
Even the sea, tight around the land, shakes
and I see no light unfurl…
If you knew how my heart aches
with agonising sadness, by loneliness stung…
Do you want to hear the song
burning on my tongue?
Its cursing anger is fierce and strong.
No, go, young one, back to your flowers…
to this celebration you all want,
drowning in sickening sweet vapours
– this Country’s mocking taunt”.
Milan, August 1 1919