Monday, July 23, 2012

CESARE PAVESE - POETRY (Italian poet - 1908-1950)






DEATH WILL COME WITH YOUR EYES

Death will come with your eyes—
this death that accompanies us
from morning till night, sleepless,
deaf, like an old regret
or a stupid vice. Your eyes
will be a useless word,
a muted cry, a silence.
As you see them each morning
when alone you lean over
the mirror. O cherished hope,
that day we too shall know
that you are life and nothing.

For everyone death has a look.
Death will come with your eyes.
It will be like terminating a vice,
as seen in the mirror
a dead face re-emerging,
like listening to closed lips.
We'll go down the abyss in silence.











STREET SONG


Why be ashamed? When one has done time,
if they let one out, it's because like everybody else
who belongs to the streets, one has been in prison.

From morning till evening we wander the avenues
whether it's raining or a beautiful sun's showing its face.
It's a joy to meet on the avenues people who talk
and talking among ourselves, bump into girls.
It's a joy to wait and whistle at girls from doorways,
hug them on the streets and take them to movies
and smoking in secret, lean on their beautiful knees.
It's a joy to talk and finger them laughing,
and at night in bed, feeling flung on one's neck
their two arms pulling you down, thinking of morning
when one is released from prison in the fresh sunlight.

From morning till evening wandering drunk
and watching laughing passersby enjoying everybody
—even ugly people—just to feel themselves on the streets.
From morning till evening singing drunkenly
and meeting drunkards and starting discussions
that last a long time and make us thirsty.
All these characters who go talking among themselves,
we want them with us at night, down in the trough,
and to hound them with our guitar
that skips drunkenly and cannot stay confined
but throws the doors wide open to echo in the air—
outside water or stars may rain down. It doesn't matter
if on the avenues at this hour no beautiful girls are strolling:
among us is one who laughs to himself
because he has also been released from prison tonight,
and with him, raising a ruckus and singing, we'll make it to morning.






IN THE MORNING YOU ALWAYS COME BACK


Dawn's faint breath
breathes with your mouth
at the ends of empty streets.
Gray light your eyes,
sweet drops of dawn
on dark hills.
Your steps and breath
like the wind of dawn
smother houses.
The city shudders,
Stones exhale—
you are life, an awakening.

Star lost
in the light of dawn,
trill of the breeze,
warmth, breath—
the night is done.

You are light and morning.




END OF FANTASY


This body won't start again. Touching his eye sockets
one feels a heap of earth is more alive,
that the earth, even at dawn, does not keep itself so quiet.
But a corpse is the remains of too many awakenings.

We only have this power: to start
each day of life—before the earth,
under a silent sky—waiting for an awakening.
One is amazed by so much drudgery at dawn;
through awakening within awakening a job is done.
But we live only to shudder
at the labor ahead and to awaken the earth one time.
It happens at times. Then it quiets down along with us.

If touching that face the hand would not shake—
if the live hand would feel alive touching it—
if it's true that that cold is only the cold
of the earth, frozen at dawn,
perhaps it'd be an awakening, and things that keep quiet
under the dawn, would speak up again. But my hand
trembles, and of all things resembles a hand
that doesn't move.

At other times waking up at dawn
was a dry pain, a tear of light,
even a deliverance. The stingy word
of the earth was cheerful, for a brief moment,
and to die was to go back there again. Now, the waiting body
is what remains of too many awakenings and doesn't return to the earth.
They don't even say it, the hardened lips.






TWO


Man and woman watch each other lying in bed:
their two bodies stretched out wide and exhausted.
the man is still, only the woman takes long breaths
that quiver her ribs. The legs distended
are bony and knotted in the man's. The whispers
from the sun-covered street are foisted on them.

The air hangs impalpable in the heavy shadow
and freezes the drops of living sweat
on the lips. The gazes from the adjoining heads
are identical, but they no longer find each other's bodies
as when they first embraced. They nearly touch.

The woman's lips move a little, but do not speak.
The breathing that swells the ribs stops
at the longest gaze from the man. The woman
turns her face close to the man's, lips to lips.
But the man's gaze does not change in the shadow.

Heavy and still weigh the eyes within eyes
at the warmth of the breath that revives the sweat,
desolate. The woman does not move her body,
supple and alive. The lips of the man come close
but the still gaze does not change in the shadow.





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