Gli alberi

Franco Fortini

Gli alberi sembrano identici
che vedo dalla finestra.
Ma non è vero. Uno grandissimo
si spezzò e ora non ricordiamo
più che grande parete verde era .
Altri hanno un male.
La terra non respira abbastanza.
Le siepi fanno appena in tempo
a metter fuori foglie nuove
che agosto le strozza di polvere
e ottobre di fumo.
La storia del giardino e della città
non interessa. Non abbiamo tempo
per disegnare le foglie e gli insetti
o sedere alla luce candida
lunghe ore a lavorare.
Gli alberi sembrano identici,
la specie pare fedele.
E sono invece portati via
molto lontano. Nemmeno un grido,
nemmeno un sibilo ne arriva.
Non è il caso di disperarsene,
figlia mia, ma di saperlo
mentre insieme guardiamo gli alberi
e tu impari chi è tuo padre.

The trees

Franco Fortini

The trees look identical
I see from my window.
But it’s not true. An enormous
one broke and we no longer remember
what great wall of green it was.
Others have a disease.
The soil doesn’t breathe enough.
On the hedges the new leaves
have barely budded when
August chokes them with dust
and October with smoke.
The history of the garden and the city
interests no one. We have no time
to sketch the leaves and the insects
or to sit in the candid light
long hours spent working.
The trees look identical,
the species appears loyal.
And yet they are swept far
far away. Not even a cry,
not even a sigh from them.
There is no need to despair,
my daughter, but to understand
as together we observe the trees
and you learn who your father is.

Translation ©Matilda Colarossi

The poem is from the collection Questo muro [This wall] 1973.

What have we done to nature? This is the unspoken question. We have built parks and cities of smoke and dust, choking the life out of nature. As we rush here and there, as we continued to lose ourselves in the hectic pace of life, something was broken: the silent pact between man and nature. This is increasingly true in today’s society, 46 years after the poem was written, plastic has taken the place of the smoke and dust. Particularly touching is the last stanza: “No need to despair […] who your father is.” Fortini, with the idea that understanding can save us, gives us a ray of hope, and uncovers who he really is: father, protector, a man who is aware of the world around him.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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