Aprendo la finestra stamattina

Paolo Ottaviani

Aprendo la finestra stamattina

ho visto che pioveva, il cassettone

vomitava rifiuti e una bambina

rovistava con sciolta precisione

tra i sacchi luccicanti, poi s’è aperto

uno squarcio di sole — reazione

fulminea — il piazzale ora è deserto.

Un merlo urbano saltella felice

e un passante borbotta il suo sconcerto

— tutto per terra, che schifezza!— dice.

As I opened the window this morning

Paolo Ottaviani

As I opened the window this morning

I noticed it was raining, the trash bin

vomited garbage and there standing

was a young girl who with deft diligence

rummaged through shiny sacks, the clouds parted

filtering sunlight—instantaneous

reaction— the square was now deserted.

An urban black bird gamboled joyously

and annoyed a passerby protested

—litter scattered everywhere, how filthy!

Quando Imoletta* si svegliò su un ramo

Quando Imoletta* si svegliò su un ramo

trascinata dai venti con la tenda

che dopo il terremoto il buon Abramo

aveva issato con tanta stupenda,

generosa imperizia sopra i resti

del cascinale e una rude benda

copriva le ferrite di quei mesti

giorni, chiamò a gran voce il figlio, il figlio

David che accorse—toglimi da questi

sterpi e non temer se a te, un pò, m’appiglio!

When Imoletta* woke up on a limb

When Imoletta woke up on a limb

transported by the wind with the tent

that after the quake that fine man

Abramo had planted with such infinite,

generous incompetence on the remains

of her farmstead and a rough bandage

covered the gashes of those wretched

days, she shouted for her son, her son who

came quickly running—free me David

from this tree and don’t mind me if, just a bit, I cling to you!

Translation ©Matilda Colarossi 2019

*Imoletta was a tiny peasant woman who lived alone in a dilapidated house on a small farm. When the violence of the earthquake razed everything to the ground, no one thought about Imoletta, except a neighbour who gave her an old military tent:  her son found her up in an oak tree, swept there by the fury of a windstorm one night. She was trapped in the branches and the lines of the tent. That was the only time Imoletta asked for help.

The poems are from the collection Nel rispetto del cielo, by Paolo Ottaviani (puntoeacapo CollezioneLetteraria) 2015

I would like to thank Paolo Ottaviani for his permission to translate and post his poems.
In rispetto del cielo can be found here: https://www.ibs.it/nel-rispetto-del-cielo-libro-paolo-ottaviani/e/9788898224388

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

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