First consideration: Poetry is, in theory, untranslatable. And yet (and this is the second consideration) poetry is translated; nevertheless, we read poetry in translation; nevertherless, we know poets―and important poets that are essential to our culture, to our very idea of poetry―only thanks to translation.” G. Raboni

Marina

Mario Luzi

Che acque affaticate contro la fioca riva,
che flutti grigi contro i pali. Ed isole
più oltre e banchi ove un affanno incerto
si separa dal giorno che va via.

Che sparse piogge navighi, che luci.
Quali? Il pensiero se non finge ignora,
se non ricorda nega: là fui vivo,
qui avvisato del tempo in altra guisa.

Che memorie, che immagini abbiamo ereditate,
che età non mai vissute, che esistenze
fuori della letizia e del dolore
lottano alla marea presso gli approdi

o al largo che fiorisce e dice addio.
Rientri tu, ripari a questa proda
e nel cielo che salpa un pino stride
d’uccelli che rimpatriano, mio cuore.
Marina

Mario Luzi

What weary waters against the wan shore,
what grey waves against the pilings. And islands
further beyond and banks where an uncertain grief
detaches itself from the passing day.

What sparse rains do you navigate, what lights.
What? If thought does not feign it ignores,
if it does not recall it denies: there I was alive,
here advised of time in another guise.

What memories, what images have we inherited,
what time never once lived, what existence
beyond the bliss and the pain
far at the tide near the quays

or at sea that blooms and says farewell.
You come home, return to this shore
and in the sky that departs a pine screeches
with birds that repatriate, my heart.

Translation ©Matilda Colarossi 2021  

A grey evening in autumn, on the shore. Day fades to night as weary waves wet the sands in a slow decline (acque affaticate, fioca riva): there is sense of unrest that settles on the poet’s heart, and his thoughts wander (memorie, immagini, età, esistenza). Thoughts of times past, memories of life lived and not lived take hold of him until those feelings, like the waves, return to the shore and he returns again, one with his heart. It is interesting to note how the first line of the last stanza ends with the words dice addio and the next line starts with the word rientri and the pronoun tu: it is a farewell to the memories that slowly fade with the darkness and oncoming night as Luzi returns to the present, to life like the waves on the shore, like the birds in the pine tree.

This poem by Mario Luzi, written in 1949, is in Primizie del deserto, from the collection Tutte le poesie, Garzanti-Gli Elefanti, Milano 2003-2004, cit., p. 190. It is loosely inspired by the poem Marina by T. S. Eliot.

T. S. Eiot’s poem Marina (in The Ariel Poems, 1939) is found here. In parallel we have the translation by Giovanni Raboni, poet and translator.

Marina

T.S. Eliot

Quis hic locus, quae
Regio, quae mundi plaga?

What seas what shores what grey rocks and what islands
What water lapping the bow
And scent of pine and the woodthrush singing through the fog
What images return
O my daughter.

Those who sharpen the tooth of the dog, meaning
Death
Those who glitter with the glory of the hummingbird, meaning
Death
Those who sit in the sty of contentment, meaning
Death
Those who suffer the ecstasy of the animals, meaning
Death

Are become unsubstantial, reduced by a wind,
A breath of pine, the woodsong fog
By this grace dissolved in place

What is this face, less clear and clearer
The pulse in the arm, less strong and stronger –
Given or lent? More distant than stars and nearer than the eye
Whispers and small laughter between leaves and hurrying feet
Under sleep, where all the waters meet.
Bowsprit cracked with ice and paint cracked with heat
I made this, I have forgotten
And remember.
The rigging weak and the canvas rotten
Between one June and another September.
Made this unknowing, half conscious, unknown, my own.
The garboard strake leaks, the seams need caulking.
This form, this face, this life
Living to live in a world of time beyond me; let me
Resign my life for this life, my speech for that unspoken,
The awakened, lips parted, the hope, the new ships.

What seas what shores what granite islands towards my timbers
And woodthrush calling through the fog
My daughter.
Marina

T.S. Eliot – traduzione di Giovanni Raboni

Quis his locus, quae
Regio, quae mundi plaga?


Che mari e spiagge e grigi scogli e isole
Che acque a lambire la prua
E fragranza di pino e il tordo che canta nella nebbia
Che immagini ritornano
O figlia.

Chi affila il dente del cane e significa
Morte
Chi usurpa lo splendore del colibrì e significa
Morte
Chi si crogiola nel porcile della soddisfazione e significa
Morte
Chi subisce l’estasi degli animali e significa
Morte

A non sostanza son ridotti per opera d’un vento
D’un alito di pino, e la nebbia del canto
Per questa grazia si dissolve in spazio

Che volto è questo, meno chiaro e più chiaro
Il battito nel braccio, meno forte e più forte
Dato o prestato? Più alto delle stelle, più vicino dell’occhio.
Bisbigli, piccole risa tra foglie e passi che s’affrettano
Sotto il sonno, dove si mischiano le acque.
Il bompresso spaccato dal gelo, dal caldo la pittura.
Io ho fatto questo, io ho dimenticato
E ricordo.
Il sartiame afflosciato e le vele imputridite Tra quel giugno e un nuovo settembre.
Senza sapere l’ho fatto, semiconscio, sconosciuto, mio.
Il fasciame fa acqua, reclamano stoppa le giunture.
Questa forma, questo volto, questa vita
Vivi per vivere nel mondo d’un tempo oltre il mio tempo;
Ch’io rimetta la mia vita per questa vita, quello che posso dire
Per il non detto, il risveglio a labbra aperte, la speranza, i nuovi legni.

Che mari e spiagge e isole rocciose incontro ai miei vascelli
E il richiamo del tordo nella nebbia
O figlia.

Of great interest with regard to the poem Marina by T. S. Eliot and the translation by Raboni: https://literaryocean.com/main-theme-of-the-poemmarina-by-t-s-eliot/

file:///C:/Users/Utente/Downloads/su-raboni-traduttore-marina-di-t-s-eliot%20(1).pdf

https://poemanalysis.com/t-s-eliot/marina/

https://poemanalysis.com/t-s-eliot/marina/ file:///C:/Users/Utente/Downloads/su-raboni-traduttore-marina-di-t-s-eliot%20(1).pdf

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