Franz Kafka

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

'Fratelli', 'Brothers', by Giuseppe Ungaretti, English version


The poet in a trench, on the Italian-Austro-Ungarian war front, ca. 1916, source
http://www.lagrandeguerra.info
http://www.lagrandeguerra.info/links.php

Amidst the horrors of WWI, in the darkest night, a word of hope lingers in the air, in this magnificent composition by Hermetic poetry master Giuseppe Ungaretti. Both versions of the poem (the first, originally entitled Soldato, appearing in the 1916 collection Porto sepolto and in the 1919 collection Allegria, as well as the final, entitled Fratelli,  from the 1942 editon of Allegria) are presented below, in English.


Brothers 

 

What's your regiment
brothers?

Trembling word
in the nigh

Leaf that is just born

In the spasmodic air
involuntary revolt
of a man present to his
fragility

Brothers


by G. Ungaretti, final version from the collection "Allegria", 1942


Soldier



What's your regiment
brothers?

Brother
trembling word
in the night
like a tiny leaf
just born


Heartfelt greeting
in the spasmodic air
whispered
supplication
for help
to a man present to his
fragility



By G. Ungaretti, first version, July 1915, as first appeared in the collection "Porto Sepolto", 1916.

Original versions in Italian, full text:




Fratelli


Di che reggimento siete
fratelli?

Parola tremante
nella notte

Foglia appena nata

Nell'aria spasimante
involontaria rivolta
dell'uomo presente alla sua
fragilità

Fratelli


by G. Ungaretti, final version from the collection "Allegria", 1942



Soldato


Di che reggimento siete
Fratelli?

Fratello
tremante parola
nella notte
come una fogliolina
appena nata

Saluto accorato
nell’aria spasimante
implorazione
sussurrata
di soccorso
all’uomo presente alla sua
fragilità

By G. Ungaretti, first version, July 1915, as first appeared in the collection "Porto Sepolto", 1916.

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