Category Archives: poesia

“San Martino, ogni mosto diventa vino”

Po Valley November fog

Republishing this for the 103rd anniversary of Armistice Day —

It’s not only the 100th anniversary of Armistice, now Veterans, Day, it’s also San Martino, an autumnal feast day in Italy that celebrates not only the fourth-century patron saint of beggars, but also the maturation of new wines. The great Giosuè Carducci also wrote a poem describing a typical foggy fall day around this time of the year in northern Italy, which deserves quoting in full and in the original.

San Martino

La nebbia a gl’irti colli
piovigginando sale,
e sotto il maestrale
urla e biancheggia il mar;

ma per le vie del borgo
dal ribollir de’ tini
va l’aspro odor de i vini
l’anime a rallegrar.

Gira su’ ceppi accesi
lo spiedo scoppiettando:
sta il cacciator fischiando
su l’uscio a rimirar

tra le rossastre nubi
stormi d’uccelli neri,
com’esuli pensieri,
nel vespero migrar.

[click on the title for a serviceable translation]

no steep hills, but plenty of steep argine in Veneto Sud

Carducci moved to Bologna at age 25, where he surely became acquainted with the pervasive northern Italian nebbia, which gets more intense the closer one goes to the Po.

While there, he lived on via Broccaindoso, where, it bears mentioning, there is a pretty decent osteria, if you’re in the neighborhood.

With thanks to SE for reminding me of all of this, and for introducing me to his poetry. 

Against Our Vanishing

I know this would happen soon. But I hoped it wouldn’t.

Allen Grossman, January 7, 1932 – June 27, 2014.

“Poetry is a principle of power invoked by all of us against our vanishing. The making of poems is a practice — a work human beings can do — in which civilization has invested some part of its love of itself and the world.  The poem is a trace of the will of all persons to be known and to make known and, therefore, to be at all.”