In testa ho paesi

Raffaele Carrieri

In testa ho paesi bianchi
e scale a chiocciola.
In testa ho clarini che volano
più veloci delle rondini
che tornano dall’Egitto.
E occhi lunghi come barche
come le barche che vincono
il campionato dei fiumi.
Ho voci che mi chiamano
in idiomi che non capisco.
Mi chiamano laggiù dalle isole
e mi gettano ponti d’amore.
Ponti di giunco e di piuma
ho in testa dove passeggiano
I figli dei miei figli
e mia madre è ancora giovane.
In testa ho paesaggi vermigli
con grandi giocattoli gialli.
In testa ho un cielo aperto
con angeli a cavallo.

I have in my head lands

Raffaele Carrieri

I have in my head white lands
and winding staircases.
I have in my head clarinets that fly
faster than the swallows
that return from Egypt.
And eyes as long as sailboats
like the sailboats that win
championship river races.
I have voices that call to me
in tongues I don’t understand.
They call to me from distant islands
and extend to me bridges of love.
Bridges of cane and of feather
I have in my head where
my children’s children walk
and my mother is still young.
I have in my head vermillion landscapes
with tall tangerine toys.
I have in my head an open sky
with angels on horseback.

Translation ©Matilda Colarossi

Raffaele Carrieri (Taranto, 1905 – Pietrasanta, 1984) was an Italian writer and poet. At fourteen he ran away from home and travelled to Albania, Montenegro and other Balkan states doing any job he could come by. He joined D’Annunzio at Fiume where, still very young, he lost the use of his hand (he was, in fact, known to say about his extensive writing: I did it all single-handedly). This poem is from the collection La civetta, Milan, Mondadori.

He wrote numerous collections of poetry: Poemetto a Campigli (Venice, 1942); Circo (Milan, 1943); Lamento del gabelliere, 1945; Souvenir caporal, 1946, (works from his war years, 1940 and 1945; Manuale per gli amorosi, 1948; La civetta, 1949; Settentrione, 1951; Il trovatore, 1953, which was the winner of the Viareggio Prize for his collection; Calepino di Parigi, 1954; Se ne vanno i cavalla, 1954; Ballata dei povero Emiro, 1955; Il cigno lanciere, 1956; Blu turco, Venice, 1956; El cigarillo, Milano, 1956; La rondine Charlot, 1957; I giorni facili, 1957; Piccolo canzoniere amoroso, 1957; Canzoniere amoroso, 1958, which was the winner of the Premio Chianciano in 1959; Blaise Cendrars, 1958; Fresco sul bruciato, 1959; Come un orto come un teatro, 1959; La sardina cieca, 1960; Inchiostro e dolori, 1962; Un milione di anni, 1963; La giornata è finite, 1963; Arlecchini di Picasso, 1963; Poesia pittura, 1964; Perdigiorno, 1965; La formica Maria, 1967; Io che sono cicala, 1967, which was the winner of thePremio Tarquinia Cardarelli; Sera italiana, 1967; Afrodite ovaiola, 1967; Stellacuore, 1970; Le ombre dispettose, 1974; Fughe provvisorie, 1978; La ricchezza del niente, 1980. In 1971 he was awarded the international prize for poetry, Etna Taormina.

Painting by Renato Guttuso (Paesaggio urbano, 1940)

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