Showing posts with label Eugenio Montale. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Eugenio Montale. Show all posts

22 January 2023

Translation: Eugenio Montale The Mediterranean

Claude Monet, Cap Martin, 1884

This is Bora Mici's original translation of the poem Il Mediterraneo or The Mediterranean, in English, by the Italian 20th century poet Eugenio Montale. Montale's poetry often is set in the Italian landscape. The Mediterranean is an ode to the eternal sea that was the backdrop to his coming of age and an old teacher to the poet, providing a metaphor for his own life: how to be ever-changing, caught up in the crashing waves of the unknown, yet enduring and still, capable of cyclically filtering what remnants the years collect as they wash up on the shores of our lost days. 

The Mediterranean 

Oh ancient one, the voice
that seeps from your mouths when they come apart
like green church bells that throw themselves
backward and dissolve
makes me drunk.
The house of my faraway summers
was by you, you know,
in the country where the sun burns
and mosquitos swarm in the air.
Today, like then, I become still before you,
oh sea, but I no longer believe myself worthy
of the solemn warning in your breath. You were the first to tell me
that the tiny stirring
in my heart was nothing more than an instant
of yours; that ultimately
your rule was risky: to be vast and different
and at the same time unmoved:
and so empty myself of all the filth
as you do when you crash on the shores
among cork, algae, starfish
the useless debris of your abyss.