Franz Kafka

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Tuesday, May 2, 2017

"Valentino (Valentine)" by Giovanni Pascoli. English translation, with original Italian text. "Valentino (Valentine)," from the collection "Canti di Castelvecchio" (1903)

The following translation of "Valentino (Valentine)" by Giovanni Pascoli, is from the book "The Poems of Giovanni Pascoli: Translated in English, with Original Italian Text," published by LiteraryJoint Press (2017). Also available as Amazon ebook (Free on Kindle Unlimited!)

Cover of: "The Poems of Giovanni Pascoli: Translated in English, with Original Italian Text," LiteraryJoint Press (2017).

Valentino (Valentine)

Oh, Valentino dressed anew
like the shrubs of the hawthorn!
On your tiny feet marked by the thorny bush
no shoes you wear but your own skin;
you wear the ones that your mom made,
which you never changed since you were born,
which did not cost a dime: instead
it cost much the suit she has sewn. 
It did cost; for mom spent all that
in her tinkling moneybox she owned:
now it is empty; and over a month
has sung the whole hen-house to get it filled.
Just think, in January, when the firewood
was never enough, you were shivering, alas!,
and the hens were singing, A cackle!
There, there, a cackle, a cackle for you alone!
Then, the hens brooded, and March
came, and you, skinny little peasant, you stayed
as caught in the middle, with feathers,
but your feet bare, like a bird:
like the bird that came from the sea,
that hops in the cherry tree, and knows not
beyond pecking, singing, and loving
if some other happiness exists.

From the collection "Canti di Castelvecchio" (1903)


Oh! Valentino vestito di nuovo,
come le brocche dei biancospini!
Solo, ai piedini provati dal rovo
porti la pelle de' tuoi piedini;
porti le scarpe che mamma ti fece,
che non mutasti mai da quel dì,
che non costarono un picciolo: in vece
costa il vestito che ti cucì.
Costa; ché mamma già tutto ci spese
quel tintinnante salvadanaio:
ora esso è vuoto; e cantò più d'un mese
per riempirlo, tutto il pollaio.
Pensa, a gennaio, che il fuoco del ciocco
non ti bastava, tremavi, ahimè!,
e le galline cantavano, Un cocco!
ecco ecco un cocco un cocco per te!
Poi, le galline chiocciarono, e venne
marzo, e tu, magro contadinello,
restasti a mezzo, così con le penne,
ma nudi i piedi, come un uccello:
come l'uccello venuto dal mare,
che tra il ciliegio salta, e non sa
ch'oltre il beccare, il cantare, l'amare,
ci sia qualch'altra felicità

From the collection "Canti di Castelvecchio" (1903)

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