Franz Kafka

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Saturday, October 6, 2012

Autunno (Autumn), by Vincenzo Cardarelli, English Translation

A Portrait of Vincenzo Cardarellli,
  (1887 - 1959)
The circular change of seasons, the come of Fall, a premonition of the crepuscular fading of life, in this famous short poem, Autunno, by Vincenzo Cardarelli.
     This month we will focus on this great and sometimes overlooked author, as he wonderfully depicts Autumn (and Ottobre, in another poem that we will present next week), the relentless flowing of time and of the seasons of life, with their fading memories, as a metaphor for destiny. You will appreciate the meditative tone in this and other lyrics of his, which arguably are evocative of the works of Giacomo Leopardi.
     Vincenzo Cardarelli, journalist, poet and literary critic,  led a solitary, dignified existence, from his humble background, through self-taught education and various peregrinations, until his final days in poverty and loneliness. He stood and sought for all that a true artist and intellectual has to stand and seek for: the uncompromising authenticity of art.  



Autumn. We felt its coming
in the wind of August,
in the rains of September
torrential and weeping
and a shiver ran through the earth
which now, bare and sad,
welcomes a bewildered sun. 
Now passes and declines,
in this Autumn progressing
with unspeakable slowness,
the best time of our life
and lengthily bids us farewell.
by Vincenzo Cardarelli, from the Collection "Poesie," 1949.
From "Vincenzo Cardarelli: The Forgotten amongst the Great. A Collection of the Best Poems by Vincenzo Cardarelli, Translated in English," available as e-book on Amazon Kindle, iPhone, iPad, or iPod touchon NOOK Bookon Koboand as printed, traditional edition through Lulu. 

The original text in Italian:


Autunno. Già lo sentimmo venire
nel vento d'agosto,
nelle pioggie di settembre
torrenziali e piangenti
e un brivido percorse la terra
che ora, nuda e triste,
accoglie un sole smarrito.
Ora passa e declina,
in quest'autunno che incede
con lentezza indicibile,
il miglior tempo della nostra vita
e lungamente ci dice addio. 
Vincenzo Cardarelli, dalla Raccolta "Poesie," 1949.


  1. Thank you for this introduction to Cardarelli. I stumbled on “smarrito”. Perhaps, I was expecting a sun with a different face and emotion. Not smiling and content, but not “bewildered” either.

    1. Thanks for stepping by ;0)
      Indeed, "Smarrire" is literally "to lose", so it's a "lost" sun...yet "smarrire" is more than lost, is also how you feel when you are lost: out of place, confused. In "Autunno" the sun, the rain, the earth are quite anthropomorphous: they appear to be suffering just like humans...

    2. I am quite selfish in my reading and interpretation, I must admit. I suppose I wanted the sun to relish, if only just a little bit, in the earth’s unending vulnerability and co-dependency to warmth and light … not to mention the need to be remembered when exposed to the coldest elements …

  2. I believe the sun depicted in "Autunno" truly represents a sundial of existence. You may like better the other sun, the one in Vincenzo Cardarelli's poem "Ottobre" ;0)

    1. “sundial of existence” … with light comes shadow … beautifully ironic and bitter-sweet ...


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