The translation of poetry in rhyme should always come with a disclaimer: It is an (almost) impossible feat! But what fun we have trying to do it! (Many things were lost in translation, but not time!)

Tempo al tempo

Gianluca Caporaso

Tempo al tempo disse il saggio
e nel tempo partì in viaggio.
Con i giorni nelle tasche
affrontò soli e burrasche.

Andò piano, andò di fretta,
pedalò su una lancetta.
Perse tempo, tempo volle
come un fiore tra le zolle.

Seppe il tempo che veloce
scocca dritto alla sua foce.
Palpitò per molti istanti
rise e pianse negli incanti.

Provò il tempo dei dolori
senza amici né dottori.
Gustò il tempo della festa
che ci abbraccia, ma non resta.

Nelle sere dell’attesa
ogni cosa era sospesa.
Nelle sere dei ricordi
raccoglieva visi e accordi.

Quando poi si rattristava
per un giorno che passava
Ripensava a quegli istanti
lumacosi e un po’ pesanti.

Giunto al tempo della fine
venne il vento alle panchine
per raccogliere ogni cosa
e per dire: dai riposa.

Quanti tempi! disse il saggio,
riposando sotto un faggio.
Dalle tasche prese un giorno.
Lo lanciò. Fu vita tutto intorno.    
Give it time

Gianluca Caporaso

Give it time said the wise man
and in time he set off again.
With the days in his pockets
he tackled suns and tempests.

He went slowly, he went in haste
pedalling around the clock face.
He lost time, time he sought
like a flower among soil clods.

He learned of time that like a shot
strikes directly at the start.
He quivered for many an instant,
laughed and cried in enchantment.

He experienced a time of pain
without a doctor, without a friend.
He savoured a time of bliss
that embraces but does not last.

In the nights of anticipation
everything was suspension.
In the nights of recollections
he collected accords and glances.

Then when he felt downcast
for the day that had quickly passed
he’d think of those snaily instants
so painstaking and so strenuous.

Once the end of time had come
wind swept over the park grounds
to gather things from the seats
and whisper: come, it’s time to rest.

So many times! said the wise man,
resting under a big stone pine.
He pulled one day from his pocket.
He tossed it up. Life was all about.

Translation ©Matilda Colarossi 2022

I was roaming around a bookstore (my favourite hobby), looking for something to pick up my spirits (which can only be found in a bookstore) and there, with the help of another book-lover, I met Gianluca Caporaso (in book form).

Speaking to him (in real life) and feeling an immediate kinship (poetry lovers will know what I’m talking about) was quick and easy.

Then I met other lovely people at Adriano Salani Editore, and what I love best (translating rhyme) was made possible.

I thank them all.

The poem Tempo al tempo is from the collection of poems of the same name, Tempo al tempo, by Gianluca Caporaso, (pp 9-10): Copyright © 2021 Adriano Salani Editore s.u.rl. dal 1862, Gruppo editoriale Mauri Spagnol, Milano.

Illustrator: Francesca Cosanti

You can find the book here:

5 thoughts on “Gianluca Caporaso: Tempo al tempo/ Give it time

  1. Lovely translation. Thank you so much for this wonderful blog. You have so generously allowed us to explore writers otherwise difficult to discover, and have helped me learn, and become interested in pursuing studies in, this language.

    Liked by 1 person

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