In memorial
of all innocent victims
of human violence

"San Lorenzo"

a poem by the Italian poet Giovanni Pascoli,
whose father had been murdered by unknown killers
on his way home, Aug 10, 1867,
when Giovanni was eleven

English version

Saint Lawrence (1) , I know why
in the quiet air so many stars
are burning and falling, why the hollow,
shimmering sky is so weeping.

A swallow was flying back to her roof:
they killed her: she fell on the thorns:
in her beak she was holding a fly:
the supper for her small ones.

Now she is there, as on the cross, holding up
that fly toward that far away sky;
and her nest, in the shadows, keeps waiting,
but the cheeping is fading by now.

Also a man was going home to his nest:
they killed him: he just said: forgive me;
and a silent cry rested in his open eyes:
he was bringing two dolls as a gift...

Now there over, in the deserted house,
they are waiting, they wait despairing for him:
motionless, astonished, he holds
the dolls toward the far away sky.

And you Sky, above all the worlds,
quiet worlds, you infinite, you immortal,
oh! with a weep of stars you floods
this opaque atom of Evil!

Original version

San Lorenzo, io lo so perchè tanto
di stelle per l'aria tranquilla
arde e cade, perchè sì gran pianto
nel concavo cielo sfavilla.

Ritornava una rondine al tetto:
l'uccisero:cadde tra spini:
ella aveva nel becco un insetto:
la cena dei suoi rondinini.

Ora è là come in croce, che tende
quel verme a quel cielo lontano;
e il suo nido è nell'ombra, che attende,
che pigola sempre più piano.

Anche un uomo tornava al suo nido:
e restò negli aperti occhi un grido:
portava due bambole in dono ...

Ora là, nella casa romita,
lo aspettano, aspettano in vano:
egli immobile, attonito, addita
le bambole al cielo lontano.

E tu Cielo, dall'alto dei mondi,
sereni, infinito, immortale,
oh! di un pianto di stelle lo innondi
quest'atomo opaco del Male!

(1) The night of Saint Lawrence, Aug 10, is the night of the falling stars

candle This candle is burning today
for all victims of terrorism
in Israel and Palestine
in New York, USA
in Madrid, Spain
in Afghanistan, in Iraq,
in London, England,
and in Egypt
and for all the friends I lost

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© Carla Marchetti
settembre 2005