Volume 8 (Fall 2014)

Giuseppe Ungaretti

          trans. by Judith Vollmer

I Have Lost Everything


I have lost my whole childhood

and now I can never really remember

anything, even when I scream.

I've buried childhood at the bottom of my nights

and now it divides me

from everything like an invisible blade.

When I remember myself, I

luxuriated in loving you,

and here I am

lost in a cosmos of nights;

unstoppable, life,

stuck at the bottom of my throat,

nothing but a rock full of tears.

Tutto Ho Perduto  

Tutto ho perduto dell'infanzia

E non potro` mai piu`

Smemorarmi in un grido.

L'infanzia ho sotterrato

Nel fondo delle notti

E ora, spada invisibile,

Mi separa da tutto.

Di me rammento che esultavo amandoti,

Ed eccomi perduto

In infinito delle notti.

Disperazione che incessante aumenta

La vita non mi e` piu`,

Arrestata in fondo alla gola,

Che una roccia di gridi.

Giuseppe Ungaretti (1888-1970) wrote early poems while fighting in the trenches at Carso in Northern Italy during the First World War. He worked in many forms, including elegies and poems of witness during the Occupation of Rome, poems of religious or spiritual expression, and the love poems of his late work. Ungaretti was a leading Modernist who said he strove to recover through poetry the organic center, rhythm, and meaning of “every single word.”

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.