Versicoli (quasi) ecologici

Giorgio Caproni

Non uccidete il mare,
la libellula, il vento.
Non soffocate il lamento
(il canto!) del lamantino.
Il galagone, il pino:
anche di questo è fatto
l’uomo. E chi per profitto vile
fulmina un pesce, un fiume,
non fatelo cavaliere
del lavoro. L’amore
finisce dove finisce l’erba
e l’acqua muore. Dove
sparendo la foresta
e l’aria verde, chi resta
sospira nel sempre più vasto
paese guasto: Come
potrebbe tornare a essere bella,
scomparso l’uomo, la terra.

(Almost) ecological versicoli

Giorgio Caproni

Don’t kill the sea,
the dragonfly, the wind.
Don’t suffocate the lament
(the chant!) of the manatee.
The bush-baby, the pine tree:
of this too is made
man. And don’t make those who for vile
profit electrocute a fish, a river,
knights of the order of merit
for labour. Love
ends where the grass ends
and the water dies. Where
the forests and green air
disappear, those who remain
heave a sigh in the ever more vast
land of waste: How
could it be beautiful again,
the land, with the absence of man.

Translation ©Matilda Colarossi 2019

The poem can be found in Res amissa, [Lost thing} in the collection L’opera in versi, edited by Luca Zuliani, Mondadori – I Meridiani, Milano 1998

Ungaretti coined the term “versicoli” to mean poetic verse should be without embellishment, freed from totally useless rhetorical structures if it meant to reflect and underline the pain of living, if it intended to make it more vivid. Thus, “versicoli”, poetry that was stripped of decorative elements.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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