Franco Fortini

Principi potenti cuoi,

principi unghie di marmo,

signori di tutti noi,

voi di invisibili armi,

voi che ci avete creati

ciechi e quieti come le merci

sigillate nei mercati,

come i visceri lerci

dei macelli, che vanno

nei vostri splendidi autoclavi,


sazi nei doponatali

vi ringraziano gli schiavi.


Franco Fortini

Princes potent hides,

princes nails of marble,

lords of us all,

you of the invisible arms,

you who have made us

as blind and quiet as wares

packed in the markets,

as the filthy entrails

of slaughterhouses, which go

into your fine autoclaves,


sated in afterchristmases

many thanks from your slaves.


Translation ©Matilda Colarossi 2020

From “Una volta per sempre” (Once and for all) by Franco Fortini, (1938-1973), Milano, Mondadori, 1978

Painting: Pieter Paul Rubens, Bacchus, Hermitage Museum. Between 1638 and 1640.

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

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