Il lonfo

Fosco Maraini

Il Lonfo non vaterca né gluisce

e molto raramente barigatta,

ma quando soffia il bego a bisce bisce,

sdilenca un poco e gnagio s’archipatta.

È frusco il Lonfo! È pieno di lupigna

arrafferia malversa e sofolenta!

Se cionfi ti sbiduglia e ti arrupigna

se lugri ti botalla e ti criventa.

Eppure il vecchio Lonfo ammargelluto

che bete e zugghia e fonca nei trombazzi

fa legica busia, fa gisbuto;

e quasi quasi in segno di sberdazzi

gli affarferesti un gniffo. Ma lui, zuto

t’ alloppa, ti sbernecchia; e tu l’accazzi.

The rumphus

.

The Rumphus neither waterloos nor crackles

and it very rarely assercows,

but when the icy zephyr smackles,

it humphs a little, and lugglishly archabrows

Lancibul is the Rumphus! Full, it is, of wolfrage

bambezzlike and fibspouting pilfering!

If you scarp, it will bepountz and darmage

if you tripe, it will cuff and peppersting.

And yet the cantankerish old Rumphus

who gelps and bellybakes, on soapbox liegusts

hogically jerpures, is witlessly feignous;

and very nearly, in show of revulsgust

you’d grab his smirknout. But he, quietous

borbatters, shamjears; and you, his head percust.

©Matilda Colarossi 2018

Metasemantics (the term originates from the prefix μετά and the word σημαντικός) is a literary technique created by Fosco Maraini, in his collection of poems “Gnòsi delle fànfole “of 1978

It consists in the use of words that make no sense, but which sound familiar to the reader. Based on the sound and the position within the text, the reader can give a personal interpretation to the words.

One of the most famous examples is “Il Lonfo” by Fosco Maraini, from the collection Gnòsi delle Fànfole.

http://www.treccani.it/magazine/lingua_italiana/speciali/nonsensi/4.html

A similar example in English can be found in the poem Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll (1871).

The rumphus is a loose translation of the poem. I have imagined a very inhumane animal, not Maraini’s Lonfo, a human animal, but animal just the same.

Drawing: Leonardo da Vinci, Dragon
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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