Monday, October 10, 2011

“Letter” by Francesco Guccini

(See also here)


The cherry-tree in the garden has come into bloom with the new sunshine
The neighbourhood is soon filled with snow from the poplars and with words.
At one o’clock on the dot the clatter of plates reaches the ears
The TVs’ thunderous rumble meets the unfazed indifference of the cats;
As you can see, everything’s normal in this pointless sarabande
But blowing through this unchanging pattern of life is the whiff of a question,
The prickly presence of an eternal doubt, what’s past seething like an ants’ nest,
Troubling those who leave it till winter to wish it were summer again.

The streets are coming back to life, a perfect finishing touch to the world,
Mother and daughter brazenly parade the same face and round bottom,
Identical in the head, no history, challenging everything, no limits,
Their strutting briefly outdone by the wailing of swallows and children;
As you can see, nothing out of the ordinary in this cumulus of life and death,
But, sobering thought, I’m not unhappy stuck in this rut of wishes and fate,
This over-shiny net, these goals we dream up for ourselves,
This unquenchable thirst, of those who hold back, unwilling to fly.

Slowly the roses wither, clusters of fruit appear on the apple-trees,
High up, clouds pass silently through the strips of cobalt-blue sky;
I lie stretched out on the fantastic green-grass plane of my past
But just-like-that age dispels all I believed and have not been;
As you can tell, everything’s just fine in this world free of worries,
As life skimmed past me, I correctly discussed the set topics,
My enthusiasms never lasted long, lots of philosophising stances,
A life of amusing encounters turned tragic, some too close for comfort, some not close enough.

But the times gone by, who will return them to me? Who’ll give me back the seasons
Of glass and sand, who can bring back rage and gestures, women and songs,
The lost friends, books I devoured, the simple enjoyment of appetites,
The healthy thirst of the parched, the blind faith in poor myths?
As you can see, everything’s as usual, just that time is pressing and the suspicion arises
That it’s not a big deal to be weary and breathless at the end of a race,
To be anxious as people are the day after, or sad at the end of a match,
No big deal the slow aimless unfolding of this thing that you call life.

Translated by Jonathan Benison

Italian text :here

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