Da Colloqui coi personaggi  

Luigi Pirandello  

Ora che tu sei morta, io non dico che non sei più viva per me; tu sei viva, viva com’eri, con la stessa realtà che per tanti anni t’ho data da lontano, pensandoti, senza vedere il tuo corpo, e viva sempre sarai finché io sarò vivo; ma vedi? è questo, è questo, che io, ora, non sono più vivo, e non sarò più vivo per te mai più! Perché tu non puoi pensarmi com’io ti sento. È ben per questo, Mamma, ben per questo quelli che si credono vivi credono anche di piangere i loro morti e piangono invece una loro morte, una loro realtà che non è più nel sentimento di quelli che se ne sono andati. […] Tu l’avrai sempre, sempre, nel sentimento mio: io, Mamma, invece, non l’avrò più in te. Tu sei qui; tu m’hai parlato: sei proprio viva qui, ti vedo, vedo la tua fronte, i tuoi occhi, la tua bocca, le tue mani; vedo il corrugarsi della tua fronte, il battere dei tuoi occhi, il sorriso della tua bocca, il gesto delle tue povere piccole mani offese, e ti sento parlare, parlare veramente le parole tue, perché sei qui davanti a me una realtà vera, viva, e spirante, ma che sono più io, per te? Nulla. Tu sei e sarai per sempre la mamma mia; ma io? io, figlio, fui e non sono più, non sarò più […]. L’ombra s’è fatta tenebra nella stanza. Non mi vedo e non mi sento più. Ma sento come da lontano lontano un fruscio lungo, continuo, di fronde, che per poco m’illude e mi fa pensare al sordo fragorio del mare, di quel mare presso al quale vedo ancora mia madre […]. Sento dentro, ma come da lontano, la sua voce che mi sospira: “Guarda le cose anche con gli occhi di quelli che non le vedono più! Ne avrai un rammarico, figlio, che te le renderà più sane e più belle“.        
Excerpt from Dialogues with the characters  

Luigi Pirandello  

Now that you’re dead, I don’t say you’re no longer alive to me; you are alive, alive like yesterday, with the same reality that I gave you from afar for so many years when I thought of you without seeing your body, and you’ll be alive for as long as I am alive. But you see? That’s it, that’s it: now I am not alive and will never be alive to you again! Because you can’t think of me the way I think of you. That’s why, Mamma, that’s why those who think they’re alive also think they’re crying for their dead while they are actually crying for their own death, their own reality, which is no longer in the heart of those who died. […] You will always, always, be in my heart: I, however, Mamma, will not be in yours. You are here; you have spoken to me: you are actually alive here, I see you, see your brow, your eyes, your mouth, your hands; I see the wrinkling of your brow, the blinking of your eyes, the smiling of your lips, the motion of your poor small offended hands, and I hear you speak, really speak your words, because you are here in front of me, a tangible reality, alive, and breathing, but what am I to you? Nothing. You are and will forever be my mother. But what am I? I was your child and am no longer that, will never be that again […] The shadows have become darkness in the room. I can no longer see or hear myself. But I hear, far, far in the distance a long rustling sound, continuous, of leaves, which for a moment deceives me and makes me think of the dull roar of the sea, of that sea near which I still see my mother […]. I hear inside me, but as if from a distance, her voice as she whispers to me: “Look at things also with the eyes of those who no longer see them! You will feel an anguish, child, that will make them more whole and more beautiful to you.”  

Translation ©Matilda Colarossi 2022  

This excerpt is from the short story “Colloqui coi personaggi”, by Luigi Pirandello, found in Novelle per un anno, vol. III, book II, Mondadori, Milano, 1990, pp. 1138-1153

Pandemic, and death, and war, and death, and round and round we go. And in all this the loss of two parents in three months: one I respected and loved, and one that I respected and loved and who was my heart, my soul mate.

I looked for words to express what I feel and found poetry that sounded old and grey, over-sung and sad. Then I found this, in Pirandello: I knew he would understand what I am feeling. This is the true expression of my loss. My mother would not have whispered the same last words, however. She would have simply answered my “I love you, ma” (as she did so many times from close by and from afar, as was the case for most of our lives, with an ocean between us), in a singing and totally sincere “I love you too.”

Picture: Maria Mucciante Colarossi 1927-2022, sitting near Lake Ontario many moons ago

2 thoughts on “Pirandello: Colloqui coi personaggi/ Dialogues with the characters

  1. Matti,
    Thank you for your rendering of this sensitive passage from Sr. Pirandello about his mother. I note in your English segment, “which I still sea my mother […]. I hear inside me, but…” and understand that the sea is our mother, and the voice of the missing mother still growls inside of Pirandello, however I do not feel the idiosyncratic spelling is necessary. Forgive my small quibble, but a noun is still a noun until it becomes an instrument of action, then can become a verb, as in “I will pencil in our date until we talk again next week.” Or, “The young-looking patron was carded at the door.” Even, “I homed in on the meaning of the text.” Surely, if anything, the mother “still seas” Pirandello, not he still seas her.
    You are so good at what you do, I am glad for an opportunity to make this minor collaboration, even if my impression about the author’s intent for the use of [vedo] is misguided, or if this is merely, and surely it is, a typographical error.
    The photograph is beautiful. Your website always displays a great deal of taste and generates good feelings.

    Joseph Alan Roberts
    Williamsburg, VA USA


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