Talor, mentre cammino per le strade

 

Camillo Sbarbaro

 

 

Talor, mentre cammino per le strade

della città tumultuosa solo,

mi dimentico il mio destino d’essere

uomo tra gli altri, e, come smemorato,

anzi tratto fuor di me stesso, guardo

la gente con aperti estranei occhi.

 

M’occupa allora un puerile, un vago

senso di sofferenza e d’ansietà

come per mano che mi opprima il cuore.

Fronti calve di vecchi, inconsapevoli

occhi di bimbi, facce consuete

di nati a faticare e a riprodursi,

facce volpine stupide beate,

facce ambigue di preti, pitturate

facce di meretrici, entro il cervello

mi s’imprimono dolorosamente.

E conosco l’inganno pel qual vivono,

il dolore che mise quella piega

sul loro labbro, le speranze sempre

deluse

e l’inutilità della loro vita

amara e il lor destino ultimo, il buio.

 

Ché ciascuno di loro porta seco

la condanna d’esistere: ma vanno

dimentichi di ciò e di tutto, ognuno

occupato dall’attimo che passa,

distratto dal suo vizio prediletto.

 

Provo un disagio simile a chi veda

inseguire farfalle lungo l’orlo

d’un precipizio, od una compagnia

di strani condannati sorridenti.

E se poco ciò dura, io veramente

in quell’attimo dentro m’impauro

a vedere che gli uomini son tanti.

At times, as I walk along the streets

 

Camillo Sbarbaro

 

 

At times, as I walk along the tumultuous

streets of the city alone,

I forget I was destined to be

a man among other men, and, absently,

or rather, heedless of who I am,  I watch

passersby with open extraneous eyes.

 

I am overcome then by a puerile, vague

sense of pain and anxiety as if

a hand were pressing on my heart.

Balding heads of elders, unsuspecting

eyes of children, the usual faces

of those born to toil and reproduce,

faces cunning stupid blithe,

faces ambiguous of priests, painted

faces of whores, are impressed

on my brain painfully.

And I know the deceit for which they live,

the pain that set the crease

above their lips, the hope always

betrayed

and the uselessness of their bitter

lives and their ultimate fate, the darkness.

 

Because each carries with him

the sentence of existing: but chooses

to forget that and all the rest, each

occupied with the fleeting moment,

distracted by a favourite vice.

 

I feel the same distress as those who view

butterfly hunters on the edge

of a cliff, or a strange company

of condemned prisoners smiling.

And little though it lasts, I am

in that moment truly filled with fear

to see just how many men there are.

 

Translation ©Matilda Colarossi

 

 

 

 

Estrangement and isolation come together to describe the poet in this work from the collection Pianissimo, by Camillo Sbarbaro.  The epiphany, that is to say, the apparition, of small details that reveal the true nature of existence, becomes a sign of an existential understanding that is at the root of Sbarbaro’s poetry. The poet is alone, anonymous, in the crowded  streets, and his sense of anguish and oppression is expressed here.

 

Condemned to live a frenetic life, man no longer searches for truth., while the poet, who is able to estrange himself from banal reality, the usual faces, ambiguous faces and to observe them from afar ”absently, or rather, heedless”, understands the futility of life.  The lies the fear of a common fate, the interior desolateness which looms over everything and everyone.

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