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Sunday, August 5, 2018

"X Agosto" (X of August) by Giovanni Pascoli. English translation, with original Italian text. "X Agosto" (X of August) from the collection "Myricae" (1896 edition)

Giovanni Pascoli as a child (to the right), with his father Ruggero and his brothers Giacomo and Luigi
  The following translation of "X Agosto" (X of August) 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!)  and also on Kobo.

X of August

Saint Laurent, I do know why so many
stars in the tranquil air
blaze and fall, why so much weeping
is sparkling in the concave sky.

A swallow was coming back to her roof:
       they killed her: she fell in thorn bushes:
       she was holding in her beak an insect:
her babies swallow's dinner.

Now she's lying there, as on a cross, offering
that worm to that distant sky;
her nest is in the shadow, waiting,
chirping ever so softly.

A man too was going back to his nest:
they killed him: he said: Forgiveness;
and in his wide open eyes was a cry:
as a present he was carrying two dolls...
Now, there in the solitary house,
they are waiting him, waiting in vain:
he is motionless, astonished, pointing
the dolls to the  faraway sky.

And you, Heavens, from the height
of serene worlds, infinite, immortal,
oh!, you flood with a weep of stars
this opaque atom of Evil!


  X Agosto

San Lorenzo, io lo so perché tanto
di stelle per l'aria tranquilla
arde e cade, perché si gran pianto
nel concavo cielo sfavilla.

Ritornava una rondine al tetto:
l'uccisero: cadde tra spini:
ella aveva nel becco un insetto:
la cena de' suoi rondinini.

Ora è là, come in croce, che tende
quel verme a quel cielo lontano;
e il suo nido è nell'ombra, che attende,
che pigola sempre più piano.

Anche un uomo tornava al suo nido:
l'uccisero: disse: Perdono;
e restò negli aperti occhi un grido:
portava due bambole in dono...

Ora là, nella casa romita,
lo aspettano, aspettano in vano:
egli immobile, attonito, addita
le bambole al cielo lontano.

E tu, Cielo, dall'alto dei mondi
sereni, infinito, immortale,
oh!, d'un pianto di stelle lo innondi
quest'atomo opaco del Male!

Published by Giovanni Pascoli for the first time in the magazine "Il Marzocco", in 1896, and included, the following year, in the fourth edition of Myricae.

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