di Dino Campana
Il bastimento avanza lentamente
Nel grigio del mattino tra la nebbia
Sull’acqua gialla d’un mare fluviale
Appare la città grigia e velata.
Si entra in un porto strano. Gli emigranti
Impazzano e inferocian accalcandosi
Nell’aspra ebbrezza d’imminente lotta.
Da un gruppo d’italiani ch’è vestito
In un modo ridicolo alla moda
Bonearense si gettano arance
Ai paesani stralunati e urlanti.
Un ragazzo dal porto leggerissimo
Prole di libertà, pronto allo slancio
Li guarda colle mani nella fascia
Variopinta ed accenna ad un saluto.
Ma ringhiano feroci gli italiani.
by Dino Campana
The passenger ship advances slowly
In the grey morning through the fog
On the yellow waters of a fluvial sea
Appears the city ashen and veiled.
We enter a strange port. The emigrants
Go mad, they grow fierce, they throng
In the acrid elation of imminent battle.
From a group of Italians dressed
Ridiculously in the fashion of
Buenos Aires oranges are tossed
To the dazed and squawking paesani .
A boy, very slight of frame
The offspring of liberty, ready to act,
Looks on, and clutching a coloured
Ribbon he raises his hand in greeting.
But the Italians snarl ferociously.
Translation by ©Matilda Colarossi
The poem “Buenos Aires” by Dino Campana, from Inediti, was first written in a travel log where Campana wrote what he called “impressioni d’arte”, artistic impressions. Although the poet is on the same ship with other emigrants he is detached, almost hostile. The verbs and adjectives he uses are harsh, critical of the fellow travellers, the “paesani”, “fierce” and “squawking”. He was 23 when he emigrated to Buenos Aires in search of a new life and with a desire to learn about new places and new peoples.
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