Di Salvatore Quasimodo


Autunno mansueto, io mi posseggo

e piego alle tue acque a bermi il cielo

fuga soave d’alberi e d’abissi.


Aspra pena del nascere

mi trovo a te congiunto;

e in te mi schianto e risano:


povera cosa caduta

che la terra raccoglie.


By Salvatore Quasimodo


Balmy autumn, myself I possess

and bow to your waters to drink the sky

silent flight of trees and abysses.


Bitter agony of birth

we are one, you and I;

and into you I collide and am restored:


poor fallen thing

that the earth enfolds.


Translation by ©Matilda Colarossi

Salvatore Quasimodo was an Italian author and poet. In 1959 he won the Nobel Prize for Literature “for his lyrical poetry, which with classical fire expresses the tragic experience of life in our own times”.  He was one of the foremost Italian poets of the 20th century.

The poem Autumn is taken from the collection Oboe Sommerso (1930-1932)

On the literary plane, the term Hermeticism – which defines the work of Quasimodo – highlights a type of poetry that has a closed (hermetic) character.  The complex construction, the closed style and the constant emotional introspection make translation difficult: a game of trial and error where, I believe, error often overrides trial. (M.C.)
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