For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious

Saturday, 23 March 2019

Ombra e Mistero

This is a poem called Ombra e Mistero by the Italian poet, artist and literary critic Luigi Cerantola: below is my attempt at translation.


San'Agata, quel piatto in che tu reggi
le gemmanti bella - candidi scogli,
e cupida sirena a sortilegi
che ai naviganti sfrondano li orgogli

ma chi l'occhio sospinge oltre i rigogli
della carne del senso, altri vagheggi
scopre nel mite vespro e nei vergini
silenzi del crepuscolo, sui colli

quetando la sua guerra in discoloro
di luce e tempo, via dall'ora ignota
sospesa sulla torre, entro il cipresso

ombra e mistero - lontananza immola
forse di paradisi, e nimbo d'oro
raggiante a noi l'illimite riflesso.




Saint Agatha, that platter where the buds
gem-bright thou lift'st, white reef-rocks, lovely Girl
(she, sea-siren insatiable, chants such spells
to shred the sailors’ every yard of pride,

Yet he whose eye prevents luxuriance
of fleshly lusts, in cool of the day's eve,
and the dusk’s falling virgin silences,
finds there diverse desires; upon the hills

His strife sinks quiet in the ebbing hue
of light and time, beyond the hour unknown
pendent on the tower, within the cypress

Shade and mystery), that offer up from far;
mayhap thy aureole or celeste spheres' light
mirrored may strike on us immeasurable.

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