IN THE MORNING YOU ALWAYS COME BACK

 

CESARE PAVESE

 

Lo spiraglio dell’alba

respira con la tua bocca

in fondo alle vie vuote.

Luce grigia i tuoi occhi,

dolci gocce dell’alba

sulle colline scure.

Il tuo passo e il tuo fiato

come il vento dell’alba

sommergono le case.

La città abbrividisce,

odorono le pietre –

sei la vita, il risveglio.

 

Stella perduta

nella luce dell’alba,

cigolío della brezza,

tepore, respiro –

è finita la notte.

 

Sei la luce e il mattino.

 

(19-20 marzo 1950)

 

IN THE MORNING YOU ALWAYS COME BACK

 

CESARE PAVESE

 

The glimmer of dawn

breathes from your lips

at the end of barren backstreets.

Grey light your eyes,

gentle drops of dawn

on the dusky hills.

Your step and your breath

like the wind of dawn

engulfs the houses.

The city shudders,

the scent of cobblestones –

you are life, the awakening.

 

A lost star

in the light of dawn,

the creaking of the breeze,

warmth, breath –

the end of night.

 

You are the light and the morn.

 

(19-20 March 1950)

 

 

Translation by ©Matilda Colarossi

 

VERRA’ LA MORTE E AVRA’ I TUOI OCCHI

 

 

Verrà la morte e avrà i tuoi occhi –

questa morte che ci accompagna

dal mattino alla sera, insonne,

sorda, come un vecchio rimorso

o un vizio assurdo. I tuoi occhi

saranno una vana parola,

un grido taciuto, un silenzio.

Così li vedi ogni mattina

quando su te sola ti pieghi

nello specchio. O cara speranza,

quel giorno sapremo anche noi

che sei la vita e sei il nulla.

Per tutti la morte ha uno sguardo.

Verrà la morte e avrà i tuoi occhi.

Sarà come smettere un vizio,

come vedere nello specchio 7

riemergere un viso morto,

come ascoltare un labbro chiuso.

Scenderemo nel gorgo muti.

 

(22 marzo 1950)

DEATH WILL COME AND IT WILL HAVE YOUR EYES

 

Death will come and it will have your eyes –

this death which accompanies us

from morning till night, sleepless,

deaf, like a raucous elder

or an absurd habit. Your eyes

will be an empty word,

a stifled cry, silence.

You see them thus in the morning

when alone you lean towards

the mirror. Oh treasured hope,

that day we too will know

that you are death and are the void.

For all death wears an expression.

Death will come and it will have your eyes.

It will be like quitting a habit,

like seeing in the mirror

a deathly face re-emerge,

like listening to closed lips.

Silently we will sink into the current.

 

(March 22 1950)

 

 

Translation by ©Matilda Colarossi

 

 

 

The poems by Cesare Pavese ‘In the morning you always come back’  and Verrà la morte e avrà I tuoi occhi- dedicated to the actress Constance Dowling, with whom he was once involved – are from the collection Verrà la morte e avrà i tuoi occhi, published in 1951, after his death. They are the before and after of a love story that will leave the author helpless. In the second poem it is clear that the poet is resigned to a future without hope. The poem Verrà la morte prefigures his death by suicide.

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