Arturo Graf

Sì pien d’anni son io, benché non anco
M’abbia canuto il crine o curvo il dorso,
Che a risalir della mia vita il corso
La memoria mi trema e mi vien manco.

Dentro il mio cor né brama, né rimorso,
Nè duol, né sdegno; abbandonato e stanco
Giaccio, qual nave in sull’aperto fianco
Travolta, fuori d’ogni uman soccorso.

M’invade un lento obblio. Passano i giorni
E i mesi e gli anni, ed io non me n’avvedo,
Fatto così di sentimento privo.

E se talora avvien che in me ritorni,
Quasi a me stesso e al mio pensier non credo,
E mi vergogno di trovarmi vivo.


Arturo Graf

So filled with years am I, although I be
Neither with snowy mane nor curved spine,
That to retrace the steps of this life of mine
My memory falters and thus fails me.

In my heart neither do I repent nor pine,
Ache nor despise; abandoned and weary
I , like a ship’s flank which open to the sea
Is wrecked, beyond all human salvage lie.

A slow oblivion invades me. The days pass
The months and years, and nothing do I perceive,
Being as I am of sentiment deprived.

And if at times it should return at last,
Both myself and my thoughts I disbelieve,
And ashamed am I to find myself alive.

Translation ©Matilda Colarossi

Arturo Graf (1848 – 1913), was an Italian poet and professor of Italian literature. The poem is from the collection Poesie, Casa Editrice Giovanni Chiantore, Turin, 1922 (succeeded by Loescher). The original work can be found on LiberLiber here.

He was one of the founders of the Giornale della letteratura italiana, and his publications include prose criticism. He is best known as a poet, but was also the author of numerous works in prose. His various collections include Poesie e novelle (1874), Dopo il tramonto versi (1893), etc. set him among the lyrical writers of his country. His work greatly inspired Guido Gozzano.

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