I camini  

Corrado Govoni  

Grigi alleati delle nebbie
dai tetti s’alzano i camini
nani giganti mingherlini
ventruti esili lunghi
simili a strani funghi
a fantastici berretti
a pipe sornione
a caffettiere di stregoni
a ombrelli bucati di mendichi
a torri merlate
a clessidre ad imbuti di sereno .
Sentinelle pacifiche,
rustiche tiare,
pertiche donde dardeggia
i suoi occhi fosforescenti di civetta
la luna incinta di una stella,
troni dei gatti e dei pavoni.
Solo quando il vento
rompe il loro mutismo quotidiano chi veglia silenzioso accanto al focolare
può afferrare un fantastico brano
ruminato a bassa voce
delle loro interviste colle nubi.

Corrado Govoni  

Grey allies of the fogs
from rooftops rise chimneys
pint-sized gigantic scrawny
paunchy sinewy long
similar to strange champignon
to fantastic bonnets
to wily pipes
to wizards’ pots
to beggars’ broken umbrellas
to crenelated towers
to hour-glasses of fair funnels.
Peaceful sentinels,
rustic tiaras,
staffs over which spring
the phosphorescent owl eyes
of the star-bearing moon,
thrones of cats and peacocks.
Only when the wind
interrupts their daily taciturnity
are the silent guardians of the fire
able to heed a fantastic melody
ruminated in whispers
of their interviews with the clouds.  

Translation ©Matilda Colarossi 2021

I would have so loved to be able to translate “la luna incinta di una stella”, but it just didn’t come to me; and where the “i suoi occhi” obviously refers to the moon’s eyes, mentioned in the next line, in English I would have had to use “its phosphorescent eyes of the owl/ the moon pregnant with a star”, which makes no sense to me. Something is always lost…unfortunately.

Painting: The roofs of Paris at sunset, 1899, Gustave Cariot

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

2 thoughts on “Corrado Govoni: Camini/ Chimneys

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