Saturday, April 14, 2012


Dust shines, in the silent clashing
of a sunbeam’s blades, the roaring eye
of a spotlight from on high, the bright
gallivant motes... no, you haven’t
dusted much in this life and so now
these lightest sinews cluster
and wallow in their own glitter.
You sense the spotlight
on never ending stages,
dust’s stamina through the ages,
ghosts in a luminous clamor
blazing in silence’s glamour,
hinted at or howled while strewing
and soon forgotten in time’s
jests, like ever reshaping wave crests;
what gives you elation and hush
letting you sense the burning
stone’s hidden heart,
what you’ll pass over
when you’ll be dust,
when you’ll be, who knows,
maybe also the very fire
of noon, on the hour,
in un-subdued desire,
life after life,

with these motes
that keep staring in shine.

The way in which this poem came to life is very peculiar: I had started translating into Italian for a friend my poem "In this luminous deluge of silence" and I realized that, while translating it, I was, in a way, writing a different poem in Italian that only partially was "in this luminous deluge of silence". This poem in English comes from the Italian new and different version. I didn't even try to translate it this time! I completely re-wrote it in English. Translation is by all means an art for the elected few.


Dulcina said...

You have made dust shine all through your poem with your beautiful words. The kitchen has become a shrine.
Hope men - dust in the end - can shine the same or more after death.
I especially like these lines:

when you’ll be, who knows,
maybe also the very fire
of noon

Beautiful images those of the reshaping wave crests and the burning stone’s hidden heart.

About translation, I think poetry should not be translated because, when doing so, even the best translators cannot grasp the real essence of the original: it's as when we try to copy a rose in plastic.
I can understand what hapenned to your poem: if you had given it to different translators, each of them would have written a different poem, for sure.
Those you call "the elected few" cannot translate the music of the original poem unless they change the words and, by doing so, they are writing something else, same as you did.
I have always refused translating poetry because it would have been a kind of sacrilege.
You can only dare explain the idea inside the poem, but never playing its music in another language.

Dave King said...

There's much to like here - esp the clashing of the sunbeam's blades. I was taken by that.

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

Thank you Dulcina, your " it's as when we try to copy a rose in plastic" about translating perfectly catches the difficulty of the translator's task. You have by all means a remarcable sensibility on poetry matters.

Thank you Dave, as ever.