di Giorgio Bassani



Ho visto in sogno mio padre: «Tu qui?»

Timido e triste rideva: «Non vieni?»

O rive, o infanzia, o frangenti sereni,

voi tornavate, nel calante dì?


Tutto tornava. Eppure vano, oh fu,

al nembo che vi spense, onde fulgenti,

contendere e alla rena i lievi, argentei

suoi capelli, e all’oblio più che un sospiro.



by Giorgio Bassani



I saw my father in a dream: “You, here?”

Silent and sad he laughed: “Aren’t you coming?”

Oh shores, or childhood, or quiet times,

did you return, when the day was done?


Everything returned. Yet, oh, useless was it,

from the nimbus that snuffed you, fulgent waves,

to snatch and from the sands his fine, silver

hair, and from oblivion more than a sigh.


Translation by ©Matilda Colarossi





Giorgio Bassani was born in Bologna on March 4, 1916, into an upper middle-class Jewish family that had lived in Ferrara for many generations. He was a novelist, poet, essayist, editor, and international intellectual. He is most famous for his book Il giardino dei Finzi Contini [Garden of the Finzi Contini].



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