3 poems by Corrado Govoni, translated from Italian by Chiara Salomoni

La primavera del mare

Anche il mare ha la sua primavera:

rondini all’alba, lucciole alla sera.

Ha i suoi meravigliosi prati

di rosa e di viola,

che qualcuno invisibile là falcia

e ammucchia il fieno

in cumuli di fresche nuvole.

Si perdon le correnti

come le pallide strade

tra le siepi dei venti

da cui sembra venire nella pioggia

come un amaro odore

di biancospino in fiore.

E certo nella valle più lontana

un pastore instancabil tonde

il suo gregge infinito di onde

tanta è la lana

che viene a spumeggiare sulla riva.

Verdognolo e lillastro, come l’arcobaleno

gemmeo elastico refrigerante,

d’accordo con il cielo

profondo arioso concavo specchiante

come il cristallo con il fiore,

tutto abbandoni e improvvise malinconie

come il primo amore.

Così fresco ed azzurro 

come se trasparissero

dalla sua limpidità

le sue tacite foreste


avvinghiate di alghe serpentine

quest’edera senza foglie, 

scorse dai freddi scivolii

di pesci di maiolica e d’argento

alati come uccelli muti,

tra i coralli irrigiditi

questi peschi sempre fioriti.

Son le rondini, fisse, le conchiglie.

E le lucciole enormi son le seppie morte,

lanterne sorde

di palombari annegati,

fari di naufraghi pericolati.

Una barca con un’immensa vela

sembra qualche straccione

fermo in un crocevia sotto l’ombrello,

in attesa che passi l’acquazzone.              

The sea spring

Also the sea has its own spring:

swallows at dawn, fireflies in the evening.

It has its meadows of pink and violet,

which someone invisible cuts down

there, and makes hay

in a heap of fresh clouds.

The currents get lost

like pale lanes

between the winds’ hedges

from where a bitter smell

of flowering whitethorn

seems to come in the rain.

And look, in the furthest valley

a shepherd tirelessly shears 

his boundless flock of waves,

so much wool

that it comes foaming ashore.

It’s greeny-lilac as the rainbow 

jewel-like elastic refrigerant,

in agreement with the sky

deep airy hollow mirroring,

like a crystal on a flower.

It is all abandonment 

and sudden sadness 

like the first love.

It is so fresh and light blue 

as if its silent undersea forests

clutched by serpentine seaweeds,  

its leafless ivy,

would shine through

its limpidity.

They are caught from cold slides

of fishes made of majolica and silver,

winged like mute birds

between stiffened corals:

its ever-flowering peach trees.

The shells are still swallows.

The dead cuttlefishes are huge fireflies,   

deaf lanterns

of drowned divers,

lights for castways in danger.

A boat with a huge sail

looks like a drifter

standing at a crossroads 

under an umbrella

waiting for the downpour to stop.

I fanali e i mendicanti

Nella pioggia i fanali tra gli alberelli

dei marciapiedi

sembran file di mendicanti 

che vanno in elemosina

nude le teste e scalzi i piedi

sotto i loro verdi ombrelli

simili a grandi aureole di santi.

The lights and the beggars

In the rain the lights among the tiny trees

of the pavements

look like lines of beggars

living on charity

bareheaded and barefoot

under their green umbrellas

like great saints’ haloes.

Il prato e le nuvole

È cessato or ora il temporale

e il prato verde odora

di menta glaciale.

È un immenso fruscio di pioggia

che sgocciola lenta lenta

lungo i tremuli fili d’erba,

dalle ciglia rosee dei fiori,

dalle labbra bianche dei fiori.

Laggiù il cielo sereno

è il grande innaffiatoio di smalto azzurro

col manico variopinto dell’arcobaleno.

The lawn and the clouds

Just now the thunderstorm stopped 

and the green lawn smells

of glacial mint.

It is a vast rustle of rain

that drips slowly slowly

along the tremulous blades of grass,

from the pinky eyelashes of flowers,

from the white lips of flowers.

Over there the clear sky

is a blue, enamel watering-can

with it multicoloured handle of the rainbow.


2 poems by Chiara Salomoni

Chiara Salomoni is a poet and translator. Her poems appear on Vivienne Westwood’s website and in The Blue Nib. She is currently translating poetry by Corrado Govoni, Silvio Ramat and by Andrea Zanzotto. She read from her translations at the Poetry Library. She is a member of the Tideway Poets

Poems by Corrado Govoni

Corrado Govoni (1884-1965) was a prolific writer of poetry, prose and drama. He joined the Futuristic Movement and collaborated on Marinetti’s Notebooks but his crepuscular way of writing remained a characteristic in his poetry set in agricultural landscapes. Govoni was the president of PEN Club Italia in 1938. 


About the contributor

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