Il fiume è l’intestino


Roberta De Piccoli


Il fiume è l’intestino e lambisce

con anse terrose i molteplici umori, le umidità

diffuse, le celle di loto acquitrinose.


Sviene un’arcata, a confondere il riflesso

e il sommerso: lunga, arresta la corrente.

Cerchi concentrici, sino al termine della ragione


e oltre. Un diluvio lunare—mi spaventi, tanto

da desiderarti come l’attesa che non sai, dire

—di sale che pizzica il canneto alla foce e soffia


l’impollinare. Tutto nel fondo si muove,

oscuro e familiare. Affiorano pulviscoli di sole,

scivolano le bende sciolte, lontane.

The river is intestine


Roberta De Piccoli


The river is intestine: its earthy loops ring

my manifold moods, its widespread

moistures, its lotus cells awash.


A slow bowing swoons, to confuse the reflection

and the submerged: prolonged, it stops the current.

Concentric circles, until the end of reason


and beyond. A lunar flood—you frighten me, as

my desire for you which you know nothing of

—of salt that pinches the reeds at the mouth breathe


pollination. Everything in the background moves,

dark and familiar. Sands of suspended sun

emerge, loose bandages slip away, distant.



Translation ©Roberta De Piccoli

My dear friend Roberta De Piccoli translated this poem herself, and I, in a sort telephonic psycho-literary session, helped her polish it. If I were to describe our discussions on poetry and translation visually, they would look like many suns with millions of rays shooting out from them: we wander from the poem, the stanzas, the verses, and the words, and wonder; and then we wander further out. But we always come back to the sun, the poem, and the sounds it makes to our Italian and English ears.  We have been doing this on and off for numerous years. I trust her musical ear totally, she trusts my English: we trust each other. In this poem, her thoughts go to the river that accompanied her throughout her life, and we accompany her lovingly. – M.C.
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