Talo, mentre cammino solo

Camillo Sbarbaro


Talor, mentre cammino solo al sole

e guardo coi miei occhi chiari il mondo

ove tutto m’appar come fraterno,

l’aria la luce il fil d’erba l’insetto,

un improvviso gelo al cor mi coglie.

Un cieco mi par d’essere, seduto

sopra la sponda d’un immenso fiume.

Scorrono sotto l’acque vorticose,

ma non le vede lui: il poco sole

ei si prende beato. E se gli giunge

talora mormorio d’acque, lo crede

ronzio d’orecchi illusi.

Perché a me par, vivendo questa mia

povera vita, un’altra rasentarne

come nel sonno, e che quel sonno sia

la mia vita presente.

Come uno smarrimento allor mi coglie,

uno sgomento pueril.

Mi seggo

tutto solo sul ciglio della strada,

guardo il misero mio angusto mondo

e carezzo con man che trema l’erba.

At times, as I walk alone

Camillo Sbarbaro


At times, as I walk alone in the sunlit street

and I fix my limpid gaze on the world

where everything seems to me fraternal,

the air the light the blade of grass the insect,

a sudden chill sweeps over my heart.

I am like a blind-man, sitting

on the bank of an enormous river.

Tumultuous waters stir beneath him,

yet he doesn’t see them: under the wan sun

he sits blissfully. And if he hears

at times the murmur of waters, he thinks

it is the buzz of his misapprehending ears.

Because I believe, in living this my

lowly life, I live another life parallel

like in a dream, and that the dream is

my present life.

Bewilderment overwhelms me then,

puerile dismay.

I sit

all by myself on the side of the road,

look at my miserable mean world

and caress with trembling hand the grass.


Translation ©Matilda Colarossi

The poem is from the collection Pianissimo, published in 1914; and like many of his works, presents the main themes of Sbarbaro’s poetry: the solitude of modern man, his existential aridity, and his detachment from the world. Other poems by Sbarabaro can be found here on paralleltexts: words reflected.

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