A poem / Una poesia, in un’antologia bilingue a cura di IIC Melbourne

Uscirà prossimamente un’antologia poetica a cura di Istituto Italiano di Cultura di Melbourne. Oltre al progetto scritto, giovani compositori si sono ispirarsi  alle poesie inedite sul tema dell’edizione corrente della Settimana della lingua italiana (“L’Italiano, nostro e degli altri”), per creare composizioni originali che presto verranno diffuse online. I contributi poetici, coordinati dalla poetessa Rosaria Lo Russo, sono stati scritti dai seguenti autori: Antonella Anedda, Gianmaria Annovi, Maria Attanasio, Mariella Bettarini, Franco Buffoni, Dome Bulfaro, Maria Grazia Calandrone, Massimiliano Chiamenti, Florinda Fusco, Marco Giovenale, Paolo Fabrizio Iacuzzi, Vivian Lamarque, Rosaria Lo Russo, Gabriella Maleti, Alessandro Raveggi, Lidia Riviello, Massimo Rizzante, Massimo Sannelli, Marco Simonelli, Maria Luisa Vezzali ed Edoardo Zuccato.

Ecco la traduzione del mio contributo.


White cabbage in flower,
I dedicated to my nephew,
aged zero,
a misbegotten poem,
an uncle’s remedy,
on the virtues
of maturity.

The answer
was the explosion
of the cabbage,
bits of leaves
between his teeth.

A hunter, at four,
he transfigured tigers,
in savannahs fraught with “esses”,
slithering snakes,
through the fluff on the lounge room floor,
or the dry twigs on Zara Avenue,
in Milan, arse-hole of the world.

Later he learned to tame beasts,
pointing the blade of his tongue,
the furry toys that wipe away tears,
he no longer took with him,
because of that new cutting weapon,
no soft furry toy
tucked under the wet armpit,
dressed as a grown-up
in the grey Milanese dawn,
only solid, serious, angular,
loose-jointed things
in his hands.

In the Milanese dreariness
an elephant set on edge
my nephew, aged seven,
has no leaf, no “esses”,
seated in long lugubrious cars,
like fake fingernails,
with dashboards adorned
with deodorants, lights, radios
spouting jokes in Lombard dialect,
for Lombard grandmothers,
complacently closing
the tarred circle
of lugubrious Lombard.

They take him
to elementary school
in these motorised canoes,
when it pours,
his eyes betray the secret discomfort,
he still sees the big whiskers
of the resplendent rampant feline
looking for food
to fill the bellies of its cubs,
no peace among the canoes
fording sullenly
the dead swamp
of the traffic jam.

On the marble staircase
of the school,
Italian parents hang about,
they take their children to school,
as they take them to the dentist’s
to fix a decayed tooth,
or to the hairdresser’s
for a haircut,
not for any kind of improvement:

there they learn to hold themselves up straight,
on the elbows of grammar,
not to muddle syllables,
to spit out bits of leaves or fish bones,
not to go poaching in the living room,
to keep their mouth half-closed,
to be immaculate cadets.

Blonde guardian
of a language that grows,
slow and severe, in his throat,
like a pungent lily,
my nephew groups
with his tiny heroes,
holds them on the palm of his hand,
suddenly filled with joy
at the prospect of a swap:

they swap robotic gadgets,
of virtual world destruction,
he and his little complying friends,
purple or yellow,
teeth eaten by the frost,
bony in their moulting quilt jackets
modern or made in China.

Little Albanian children move in,
Italians of 1860,
toasted cheekbones
of those who have no flag,
of blood or inurement.

A little Albanian boy steals
a precious exchangeable
gadget, and the black
arse-hole of the world opens up:
some of the parents peep,
together they stir,
finally point their tongues.
“You see?”, they stall,
“there you are”, they cough,
“even their children”, they blurt out,
the big robot parents
shoot the brightest atavistic rocket
blustering into the air.

(As if a greasy drill,
dirty from boring,
were cursing their gears,
as an act of sabotage.)

They sprint to the classroom
spitting “esses” everywhere,
the little Albanian boy and my nephew,
they protect the herd,
moulting like their jackets
felines in a forest of consonants,
crouch under the desks,
grammar rules on the walls,
preys to chase and down,
biting into their thighs,
in bloody side-slipping,
to illustrate the selection of the species,
and where it will lead.

There is no poem
on maturity,
an uncle’s remedy,
to keep them from getting hurt,
from spitting, moulting, growing.

(Traduzione di Flavia Coassin, all’interno di un’antologia di poeti italiani, a cura dell’Istituto Italiano di Cultura di Melbourne, Australia)


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