March 11, 2017

Eugenio Montale: Ho sceso, dandoti il braccio, almeno un milione di scale

Eugenio Montale is a well known poet and writer. He was born in 1896 and died in 1981. In 1975 he won the Nobel Prize in literature. He worked as a journalist for most of his life and at the same time he wrote and published several books.


The poem I picked here is one of my all time favourite poems, not just out of his work but in general. I find it really sweet and deep.

He wrote it after his wife passed away, and dedicated it to her.

Ho sceso, dandoti il braccio, almeno un milione di scale
e ora che non ci sei è il vuoto ad ogni gradino.
Anche così è stato breve il nostro lungo viaggio.
Il mio dura tuttora, né più mi occorrono
le coincidenze, le prenotazioni,
le trappole, gli scorni di chi crede
che la realtà sia quella che si vede.
Ho sceso milioni di scale dandoti il braccio
non già perché con quattr'occhi forse si vede di più.
Con te le ho scese perché sapevo che di noi due
le sole vere pupille, sebbene tanto offuscate,
erano le tue.
I went down, giving you my arm, at least one million stairs
and now that you're gone I feel the emptiness in every step.
Even so our long journey has been short.
Mine still goes on, but I don't need anymore
coincidences, reservations,
traps, the scorn of those who believe
that reality is what they can see.
I went down millions of stairs giving you my arm
but not because four eyes may see things better.
I went down with you because I knew that between the two of us
the only real pupils, though much blurred,
were yours. 
I decided to translate this poem following the foreignization strategy, so if it sounds a bit unusual or unclear it's because I tried to stick to the Italian structure and lexicon as much as possible.

Now, I'm not going to pretend to be an expert here, I love literature and I learned it for years in school but I don't know how to analyze it perfectly or all the deep meanings that are hidden behind the text. I just love what this poem, or poetry in general, says to me when I read it, how it makes me feel and how much it makes me ponder on life and all sorts of things. So I'll end my post here, without adding a proper comment on the text.

Let me know if you like it, if it says something to you, or if something is too unclear.

Have a nice day,
Marti xx

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