Three Poems by Sandro Penna

To Us, To Us

A crowd snarled “to us” “to us”
And black reigned beneath the sun
But the new urban planning!
The restlessness of the pissoirs!
And evenings the calm worry of cats

Una folla gridava ‘a noi’ ‘a noi’
Ed il nero imperava sotto il sole.
Ma il nuovo Piano Regolatore!
L’irrequietezza degli orinatoi!
E la sera la calma paura dei gatti.

Drowsy Autumn Arrives

Drowsy autumn arrives. Sparkling
Behind shining glass two
Shining eyes

Viene l’autunno sonnolento. Brillano
dietro i lucenti vetri due lucenti

To Sit at an Unknown Table

To sit at an unknown table
To sleep in someone else’s bed
To feel the already empty square
Swell in tender goodbye

Sedere a una tavola ignota.
Dormire in un letto non mio.
Sentire la piazza gia vuota
gonfiarsi in un tenero addio.

Translated by Alexander Booth


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Contrasting Views

"Literalism is a feature of boorish translators." Cicero "The clumsiest literal translation is a thousand times more useful than the prettiest paraphrase." Nabokov

The Faerie Queene

"John Ashbery said reading the Faerie Queene was like reading an endless beautiful comic strip." Kenneth Koch

Sigmund Freud

"Everywhere I go, I find a poet has been there before me."


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