Un 30 agosto  

Bartolo Cattafi  

Si vide subito che si metteva bene:
eventi macroscopici nessuno,
il sole a un passo da settembre
diede la prima razione
alle isole di fronte,
il mare mandò lampi di freschezza,
il caldo soltanto fra tre ore,
un immenso celeste, ancora un giorno
per l’uva e gli altri frutti di stagione,
tra i pochi rumori di paese
l’ossigeno sibilando disse
di non farcela più con quel suo cuore.
Di primo mattino la morte di mia madre.    
One 30 August  

Bartolo Cattafi  

You could tell right away things were looking up:
macroscopic events not a one,
the sun a step away from September
fed the first ration
to the islands opposite,
the sea sent sparks of freshness,
the heat still three hours away,
an immense blue, one more day
until the grapes and other fruits of the season,
amid the few sounds of the town
the oxygen hissing said
it could no longer manage with that heart of hers.
In the early morning the death of my mother.

Translation ©Matilda Colarossi 2022  

Batolo Cattafi was born in Barcellona Pozzo di Gotto, Messina in 1922. His first works of poetry, Nel centro della mano (1951) were published in a plaquette and would be followed by Partenze da Greenwich (1955) and Le mosche del meriggio (1958). L’osso, l’anima, a collection which includes Qualcosa di preciso (1961), was published in 1964 and would mark the height of his first creative phase. After a period of silence that lasted ten years, Cattafi returned to poetry, publishing a series of plaquettes and artists’ books: six collections of poems, the last two of which would only be published after his death in 1979. They are: L’aria secca del fuoco (1972), La discesa al trono (1975), Marzo e le sue idi (1977), L’allodola ottobrina (1979), Chiromanzia d’inverno (1983), and Segni (1986).

The poem Un 30 agosto by Bartolo Cattafi is from the collection L’osso, l’anima found in Tutte le poesie, Editoriale Le Letter (2022), p 136. The book can be found here: https://www.lelettere.it/libro/9788893660952

For news and information about the author Bartolo Cattafi: https://www.bartolocattafi.it/front-page/

I would like to thank Le lettere and Ada and Elisabetta Cattafi for allowing me to translate and publish Un 30 ottobre on my blog: I am forever grateful.

I would like to dedicate this poem to my mother. I don’t know if it was her heart, too, that just couldn’t make: it seems impossible to me because it was such a big heart. And yet, one April morning, too, life went on as it has always done, and the sun rose, without her. – M.C.

Image: my picture taken with an old digital camera, my mother’s dowry basket, our September harvest; my father’s string to hang the basket when empty.

One thought on “Bartolo Cattafi: Un 30 agosto/ One 30 August

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