Spesso il male di vivere ho incontrato

di Eugenio Montale

Spesso il male di vivere ho incontrato:

era il rivo strozzato che gorgolia,

era l’incartocciarsi della foglia

riarsa, era il cavallo stramazzato.

Bene non seppi, fuori del prodigio

che schiude la divina Indifferenza:

era la statua nella sonnolenza

del meriggio, e la nuvola, e il falco alto levato.

Often the burden of life I have met

by Eugenio Montale

Often the burden of life I have met

it was the strangled rivulet that gurgles,

it was the crumpling of leaves

burnt, it was the horse spent.

No other way was there, if not the wonder

that bears divine Indifference:

it was the statue in the somnolent

afternoon, and the cloud, and the hawk’s ascent.

Translation by ©MatildaColarossi

The poem is from the collection Ossi di sepia, by Eugenio Montale (poet, writer, editor, translator, and recipient of the 1975 Nobel Prize in Literature).


“I wanted to wring the eloquence of our noble ancient tongue” said Eugenio Montale: and he went on to invent a new language, essential, simple and austere, a language which expressed the desire for truth. Spesso il male di vivere ho incontrato [Often the burden of life I have met] is one of the most famous poems in the collection, and representative of the main theme: the male di vivere, the burden of life, the suffering that reigns over the universe.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

3 thoughts on “Spesso il male di vivere ho incontrato/Often the burden of life I have met by Eugenio Montale

    • Più importante di sempre, aggiungerei. That overwhelming mal de vivre, untranslatable, intangible, ever-present.
      That blessed indifference behind the static immobility of the statue, the darkness of the clouds, the distant flight of the hawk.


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