Franz Kafka

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Sunday, December 16, 2012

"Fior di Neve" (Snow Blossom), by Umberto Saba and "Dust of Snow", by Robert Frost, an intriguing parallel

Robert Frost and Umberto Saba were contemporary writers, who lived between the last quarter of the nineteen century and the midst of the twentieth century. Although quite different in terms of background, language, and poetic sensibility, here are two vivacious short poems of theirs, both on the theme of snow, that I am thrilled to present as an intriguing parallel. They are, respectively, Snow Blossom and Dust of Snow; the former is sort of dream-like and transcendent, the latter rather displays a shade of darkness, yet pervaded by a vein of humor. I offered further below the Italian translation of Robert Frost's original poem, as well as the English translation of Umberto Saba's original text in Italian, to accommodate both international and Italian readers.
Cover of Umberto Saba's Poesie, First Edition, 1911
 Dust of Snow, original manuscript, 1958

          Snow Blossom, by Umberto Saba                                    

Up in the heavens all the angels
saw the bare fields
without leaves nor flowers
and they read in the children's hearts
how they love the white things.
So fluttered they the wings tired of flying
and then descended lightly lightly
the blossomed snow.

Dust of Snow, by Robert Frost

The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree

Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.

Fior di Neve, by Umberto Saba, original text in Italian, and the Italian translation of Dust of Snow, by Robert Frost.

Fior di Neve, di Umberto Saba

Dal cielo tutti gli Angeli
videro i campi brulli
senza fronde né fiori
e lessero nel cuore dei fanciulli
che amano le cose bianche.
Scossero le ali stanche di volare
e allora discese lieve lieve
la fiorita neve.

         Polvere di Neve, di Robert Frost, traduzione in italiano:

Il modo con cui un corvaccio
Mi scosse fin giù per la nuca
La spolverata di nevischio
Da un albero di tsuga

Ha dato al mio cuore
Un bel cambio d'umore
E mi ha salvato da altre ore
Di un dì fin lì speso con dolore. 

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