Ada Negri: Pioggia d’autunno/ Autumn rain

Ada Negri  

Stanotte udíi, fra veglia e sonno, un canto
lieve, sommesso, e pur vasto siccome
il vasto mondo; e mi parea nel sogno
di navigare in barca senza remi
su grigio mare, dentro un vel di pioggia.
Era la pioggia, sí; ma sovra un mare
di fronde, mormoranti di felice
ristoro, nelle tenebre: la prima
pioggia d’autunno, dopo un’arsa estate
tutta febbre di sole; ed or s’ostina
nell’alba smorta, ed ogni albero piange
che la riceve. Ma quel pianto è riso,
profondo, inestinguibile: di donna
che troppo attese, ed or non sa se gioia
o dolore è l’amplesso che l’avvolge.
Vorrei, pioggia d’autunno, essere foglia
che s’imbeve di te sin nelle fibre
che l’uniscono al ramo, e il ramo al tronco,
e il tronco al suolo; e tu dentro le vene
passi, e ti spandi, e sí gran sete plachi.
So che annunci l’inverno: che fra breve
quella foglia cadrà, fatta colore
della ruggine, e al fango andrà commista;
ma le radici nutrirà del tronco
per rispuntar dai rami a primavera.
Vorrei, pioggia d’autunno, essere foglia,
abbandonarmi al tuo scrosciare, certa
che non morrò, che non morrò, che solo
muterò volto sin che avrà la terra
le sue stagioni, e un albero avrà fronde.
Ada Negri

Tonight I heard, between waking and
slumber, a song
soft, hushed, and yet vast just as
the world is vast; and I seemed in sleep
to be sailing on a boat with no oars
on grey seas, inside a blanket of
It was rain, yes; but on a sea
of canopies, murmuring with joyful
relief, in the darkness: the first
autumn rain, after a sweltering
of feverish sun; and it continues still
in the dismal dawn, and every tree weeps
upon receiving it. But those tears are laughter,
profound, inextinguishable: of woman
too long awaiting, who doesn’t know if of
or pain are the arms that envelop her.
I would like, autumn rain, to be
that is imbibed in you down to the fibres
that bind it to the branch, and the branch to the trunk,
and the trunk to the earth; and you inside veins
run, and you extend, and so great a thirst you quench.
I know you announce the winter: that soon
that leaf will fall, turned the colour
of rust, and with the soil it will mix;
but nourish it will the roots of the trunk
and sprout again from branches at spring.
I would like, autumn rain, to be
abandon myself to your downpour, certain
I will not die, I will not die, but
my face will change for as long as the earth
has seasons, and a tree has a canopy.

Translation ©Matilda Colarossi 2020

From the collection Il dono, Ada Negri. – Milano : A. Mondadori, 1936

In the poem, again we find leaves as a metaphor for life; and the falling of leaves a metaphor for our demise. Here Negri furthers her reflection on the circle of life: with the falling of leaves, in fact, comes new life.

Please find more poetry on the topic here.

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

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