Thursday, 16 September 2010

cesare pavese

Alter Ego

Dal mattino alla sera vedevo il tatuaggio
sul suo petto setoso: una donna rossastra
fitta, come in un prato, nel pelo. Là sotto
rugge a volte un tumulto, che la donna sussulta.
La giornata passava in bestemmie e silenzi.
Se la donna non fosse un tatuaggio, ma viva
aggrappata sul petto peloso, quest'uomo
muggirebbe più forte, nella piccola cella.

Occhi aperti, disteso nel letto taceva.
Un respiro profondo di mare saliva
dal suo corpo di grandi ossa salde: era steso
come sopra una tolda. Pesava sul letto
come chi s'è svegliato e potrebbe balzare.
li suo corpo, salato di schiuma, grondava
un sudore solare. La piccola cella
non bastava all'ampíezza d'una sola sua occhiata.
A vedergli le mani si pensava alla donna.

From morning till evening he saw the tattoo
on his silky chest: a russet woman,
lying concealed in the field of hair. Beneath there was
sometimes chaos, she leapt up suddenly.
The day passed in cursing and silence.
If the woman were no tattoo but
clung alive to his hairy chest, he'd
cry out more loudly in the little cell.

Wide-eyed, he lay silently stretched on the bed.
A deep sealike sigh swelled
the big solid bones in his body: he lay
as on a boat-deck. He rested heavily on the bed
like someone who on waking might jump up.
His body, salted with spray, poured out
sweat full of sunshine. The little cell
was not big enough for a single one of his glances.
His hands showed he was thinking of the woman.

trans unknown


Roxana said...

this is so amazing, so good, and such roughness and such tenderness - it made me shiver

swiss said...

excellent! glad you liked it

Niamh B said...

beautiful alright, understated, yet strong, great choice

Andrew Shields said...

I checked my buddy Geoff Brock's version, and the first line is quite different in his version:

From morning to evening I'd watch the tattoo ...

I know zero Italian, so I won't comment further!

swiss said...

and you'd be right to note the difference. i don't know the translator so can't see why he/she has made this choice