Incipit Opening paragraph
Nell’afa del meriggio Mario sollecitava colla frusta il grasso cavallo. La strada, larga e dritta, in quell’incendio di sole sembrava confondersi col tremolìo dell’aria, entro la quale la polvere, sollevandosi, metteva tratto tratto una nebbia giallognola. Il caldo era soffocante. L’ombra, ritiratasi sotto gli alberi, ne allargava la base dei tronchi, e l’erba appariva sporca sui margini dei fossi, mentre nella strada solitaria il solco dei veicoli e l’orma dei piedi si vedevano sino molto lungi, profondi quanto nel fango. Non s’incontrava anima viva. Solo il coro delle cicale, nascoste fra le fronde, seguitava a cantare con tale monotonia, che vi si sentiva sotto l’oppressione del silenzio. Poi qualche uccello, staccandosi dalla cima di un albero, sembrava gettare un lieve strido d’impazienza, e passava rapido nel sole. La vecchia e larga carrettella era già tutta bianca. Mario, abbandonato sull’alto dossale, cogli abiti scottanti e le redini lente, si era calcata la cappellina di paglia gialla sugli occhi, e ogni tanto li socchiudeva. Al disopra delle siepi spessi lampi gli giungevano, accesi dal sole sulla lucentezza metallica delle foglie; vedeva un nuvolo d’insetti aggirarsi in vortice denso e silenzioso; poi un tafano schizzava rapidissimo intorno al cavallo, gli si librava sul collo, sulle reni, sulla groppa, sfuggendo d’un colpo per ritornare coll’insistenza di una velocità, che nulla poteva stancare.

Il viaggio non era lungo.

La strada, appena fuori della città, s’internava fra le colline separate da una florida distesa di campi. I poderi spesseggiavano; le case coloniche, vecchie e malandate, si travedevano come una macchia dentro la verzura, ma la terra in quel mese di luglio lussureggiava. Le stoppie coi gambi qua e là schiacciati, dello strame sfuggito alla falciatura, parevano immense pezze di un cinereo caldo fra i filari verdi delle viti; le canape alte e cupe alitavano un aroma amaro, mentre i gelsi, sfogliati da poco, sorgevano come scheletri tra quella pompa e quella fiamma solare così intensa, che l’anima stessa si addormiva in fondo alle proprie ombre.

Alfredo Oriani (1852-1909), Gelosia

In the heat of the afternoon, Mario urged his fat horse on with the whip. The road, long and wide, in that flaming sun seemed to become one with the wavering air, in which the dust, lifting, created clouds of yellow fog as they passed. The heat was stifling. The shade, escaping to the bottom of the trees, widened the base of the trunks, and the grass looked dirty on the sides of the ditches, while on the lonely road, the tracks of the carriages and the foot prints could be seen for quite a distance, as deep as if in mud. Not a soul could be seen. Only a chorus of cicadas, hidden in the leaves, continued to sing with so much monotony you could hear the oppressing silence underneath. Then a bird, rising from a tree top, seemed to cry out impatiently, passing quickly in the sun. The wide old cart was already white. Mario, abandoned on his high bench, with burning garments and slack reins, had pulled his yellow straw hat over his eyes, and he squinted now and then. From the bushes, bright bolts reached him, rays of sunlight shining off the shimmering metallic surface of the leaves; he could see a cloud of insects moving in a dense silent vortex; then a gadfly whizzed quickly past the horse, touching down on his neck and his lower back, fleeing after an attack only to return with an unrelenting speed that nothing could consume.

The journey was not a long one.

The road, just outside the city, stretched between hills that were divided by a florid sweep of fields. There were numerous farms; the farm houses, old and run down, were as visible as a splotch in the vegetation, but that particular July the land was lush. The stubble whose stems were trampled on in places, hay that had been passed over during harvest, looked like huge hot, grey coloured patches set between the rows of green vine; the tall dark hemp breathed bitter bouquets, while the mulberries, leaves freshly shed, rose like skeletons among that grandeur, and the scorching sun was so intense that even the soul fell to rest within its deep shadows.

Alfredo Oriani (1852-1909) [Jealousy]

Alfredo Oriani (22 August 1852 in Faenza – 18 October 1909 in Casola Valsenio) was an Italian author, writer and social critic.

Translations by ©Matilda Colarossi
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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