Volume 8 (Fall 2014)
trans. by Judith Vollmer
Smoky summer evening from the high sky-
light swirls sun-flares inside shadows
and singes my heart with its seal.
But who has (on the terrace on the river a lamp's being lit—who
—for the Little Madonna of the Bridge?)—who
is, who is it, who
lit the lamp? There is an acrid
smell in the room, a red nerve
fading. The stars are mother-of-pearl
buttons, and the evening dresses
itself in velvet: the evening is silly.
The conceited evening is sizzling
but in the heart of the evening
there is always a wilting red wound.
La sera fumosa d'estate
Dall'alta invetriata mesce chiarori nell'ombra
E mi lascia nel cuore un suggello ardente.
Ma chi ha (sul terrazzo sul fiume si accende una lampada)
A la Madonnina del Ponte chi e` chi e` che ha acceso la
lampada? — c'e`
Nella stanza un odor di putredine: c'e`
Nella stanza una piaga rossa languente.
Le stelle sono bottoni di madreperla e la sera si veste di
E tremola la sera fatua: e` fatua la sera e tremola ma c'e`
Nel cuore della sera c'e`,
Sempre una piaga rossa languente.
Dino Campana (1885-1932) was a hauntingly vivid, experimental, and mystical poet. Born in Marradi, Italy, Campana spent many years traveling and simply wandering, composing the poems that formed the core of his Canti Orfici (Orphic Songs), revered for its lyrical prose/poetry tempos, tonal variations, and arresting visual work. Campana was a pacifist and an autodidact whose love poems to street-lamps, to nighttime, and to magical urban landscapes are the works of a unique imagination.
Judith Vollmer is the author of four books of poetry, including most recently, The Water Books (Autumn House 2012). Vollmer teaches at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg, and in the Low Residency MFA Program in Poetry & Poetry in Translation at Drew University. She lives in Pittsburgh. Visit her website.
On Libations: Give me Mother's Little Helper or Raging Bitch: I'm an IPA devotee. Give me Stone Levitation then Stone Ruination on Zilly's Porch down in Ocracoke. If it's 90+ & humid in my garden in Pittsburgh, I'll take a Heineken in an ice bucket. Otherwise, it's vino rosso: Piedmontese, Pavesian, of the Langhe Hills, of the Belbo River.