My favourite, and perhaps the most difficult poem I have ever translated.

parallel texts: words reflected

Ed è subito sera

 

Salvatore Quasimodo

Ognuno sta solo sul cuor della terra
trafitto da un raggio di sole:
ed è subito sera.

And then it is night

 

Salvatore Quasimodo

We all stand alone on the heart of the earth
pierced by a ray of the sun’s light:
and then it is night.

Translation ©Matilda Colarossi

Originally this was the last verse of a poem by Salvatore Quasimodo called “Solitudini”. It was later cut down to these three, hermetic verses. The poem reflects the existential condition of man: solitude, the pain of living, the brevity of life itself. For years I kept myself from translating it: It is too densely populated with the ghosts of great translators past. The ognuno has been everyone for too many years, the sera/ evening for too long, and the subito/ suddenly for what seems forever. So, I stalled. But there is a time…

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