Di Giosuè Carducci

La nebbia agli irti colli

Piovigginando sale,

E sotto il maestrale

urla e biancheggia il mare;

Ma per le vie del borgo

Dal ribollir dè tini

Va l’aspro odor de i vini

L’anime a rallegrar.

Gira sù ceppi accesi

Lo spiedo scoppiettando:

Sta il cacciator fischiando

Su l’uscio a rimirar

Tra le rossastre nubi

Stormi d’uccelli neri,

Com’esuli pensieri,

Nel vespero migrar.


By Giosuè Carducci

The mist towards steep slopes rises

As the rain comes trickling down,

And under northern breezes

Roars and whitens the sea;

But along the city streets

From fine fermenting bins

The savoury smell of wines

Permeates the soul with glee.

Spinning over logs alight

Skewers  ablaze and sizzling:

The hunter  pauses whistling

Beside the threshold to see

Among the reddish hazes

Flocking birds as black as night,

Indistinct as thoughts in flight,

T’wards the setting sun they flee.

Translation by ©Matilda Colarossi

Giosuè Alessandro Giuseppe Carducci was an Italian poet and teacher. He was very influential and was regarded as the official national poet of modern Italy.

Translating a classic isn’t easy. Translating Carducci may even be impossible: Metonymy, synesthesia, alliteration, anastrophe, simile, are the names of the various devices that fill the text. And then, of course, there is the content, the story behind the devices, the colours of the night sky that it leaves with us….M.C.

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