Immortality Reloaded

treeImmortality Reloaded

But there’s a tree, of many, one –
a house we used to visit, you
and I: both speak of something that
is gone.

Our tree is bare now, the house still,
empty and locked, stripped of colour.

Who would believe me now if I
should say there was joy here before,
laughter and song?

Where are they now, glory and dream?
This sepia still-life image
bears memories too deep for tears:

In this dull present I still see
Shiny shards of what used to be.

Note: an earlier version of this poem won a contest in 2014, on a website that closed down soon after that… (and before delivering the prize I had been promised – I don’t even remember what it was supposed to be.) It was an ekphrastic contest, but the picture I am using here is one I took a few months ago, actually showing a much nicer tree than the original.

The Planes over Kew

The Planes over Kew

Lying on grass so green, contemplating
the scene, so natural, so serene – but
for the noise of those planes

over Kew, among thoughts of me and you,
admiring the squirrel’s poise, one vision
follows yet a vision,

the mind will feign revision as one year –
one more year – passes by.

Memories resurge of passion’s fiery
urge, of restraint’s ice-cold calculations,
of inconclusiveness.

Seasons recur, hardly changing – our moods
depending on what we pretend is new,
regrets still lingering

above us, their noise insupportable,
like those planes over Kew.

Il Giabbervocco

Jabberwocky Gradisca
Il Giabbervocco
trad. Massimo Soranzio – 2018

Era brilloso e le slisie tove
ghiravano gimblanti nell’auveva;
sì mimosie eran le borogove
e il momico rassio degrabeva.

Attento al giabbervocco, figlio mio!
Denti aguzzi, artigli impietosi!
Del giab-giabbo rifuggi il cinguettio,
scansa i bandracchiappi frumiosi!

Ei brandì pronto la spada vorpale:
a lungo cercò dell’uomo il nemico,
poi restò un po’ all’ombra d’un tamtale,
cogitabondo in quel luogo aprico.

E mentre uffesco stava lì a pensare,
il giabbervocco, con gli occhi di fuoco,
giunse bifolando tra le fronde oscure,
e borbogliava nell’avanzare!

Un, duè! Un, duè! Taglia su e taglia giù,
La lama vorpale snicchete-snizzò!
Lo lasciò lì morto e col suo capo
lesto fino a casa galonfò.

Così hai trucidato il giabbervocco?
Abbracciami, raggioso giovanotto!
Che giorno frabbioso! Callù! Callèi!
Per la gioia fece un gran casotto.

Era brilloso e le slisie tove
ghiravano gimblanti nell’auveva;
sì mimosie eran le borogove
e il momico rassio degrabeva.

My drama group at school is working on a scene, in collaboration with a school from Slovenia, based on Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky” – from Through the Looking Glass (And What Alice Found There) (1871.) We are playing with this meta-linguistic text and its equally absurd translations, so English, Italian and Slovene. Though there are a number of published Italian translations of the text, I was not totally satisfied with any of them, so I started anew. Here is the result.
During NaPoWriMo 2018, in the month of April, I posted a poem on this blog in which I supposed the young knight was the real baddie and not the hero in the story.
If you care, back in 2002 I published my translation of the first Alice book with a Trieste-based publisher.
And here is a link to a page listing all Italian translations of Alice, including mine.

Albert Einstein on Truth and Beauty

May 1st — I’ve made it! NaPoWriMo is over, I just can’t believe it! One month ago I started this blog for the Poetry Month, and now I guess I’ll have to try and do something with it in the remaining 11 months of the year…
Today I chanced to visit an interesting exhibition on quantum physics, gravitational waves, black holes, relativity… and the great physicists associated with the groundbreaking discoveries and new theories of the 20th century. I took a picture of this little exhibit that I found very inspiring: a note, with a dedication, Albert Einstein wrote in Adriana Henriques’s diary in 1921 (her father was an Italian friend of his and a fellow scientist.)


My translation from the German:

“Studying and in general striving for Truth and Beauty is a territory where we are allowed to remain children all life long.”

The greatest scientists can prove to be the greatest poets, too.