Conosco una città
Me ne sono andato una sera
Nel cuore durava il limÌo
I know a city
I left one evening
In my heart there lingered the shrill
From the deck
Translation ©Matilda Colarossi 2018
The poem Silenzio/Silence by Giuseppe Ungaretti was written in Mariano on June 27, 1916. It is from the collection of poems Vita d’un uomo. Tutte le poesie, Mondadori, Milano 1986.
In the poem we are touched by the memory, the poet’s memory of a radiant past. It emerges from the darkness of the present, a present filled with pain (the poem was written during the war). The poet’s city of origin, stolen from memory by the blinding sun, is filled with the sound of cicadas, which lingers in his heart even today. The sound rises from the silence, is born from his heart, like a light born from the darkness.
First optimistic, the memory becomes more and more painful: the distance that has come between the author and his hometown is overwhelming. The city fades from view and from memory, and all that is left is the lamps, a few, suspended in the fog.
I would like to dedicate this poem to all those people who have had to leave their homelands.
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