What it was

Il più delle volte, leggere ed apprezzare una poesia in una lingua straniera non è un’impresa facile, sia per una questione strettamente lessicale sia per la licenza poetica che viene concessa ai poeti in modo da potersi esprimere senza troppi vincoli linguistici. Quando si raggiunge, però, un livello discreto di conoscenza di una lingua straniera, è proprio l’uso ingegnoso di questa licenza poetica da parte del poeta che ci dà la possibilità di apprezzare meglio le sottigliezze, le sfumature e la suggestione della lingua in questione.

Ho conosciuto la poesia “What it was” grazie al blog nonsolobiancoenero e mi ha incantato subito. Spero che sarà così anche per voi. Suggerisco per prima cosa di leggere il testo in inglese ascoltando la traccia audio e lasciandovi trascinare dalla suggestione senza preoccuparvi troppo di eventuali vocaboli sconosciuti. Poi proseguite con la lettura dell’ottima traduzione di Damiano Abeni che può servire per colmare eventuali difficoltà lessicali e/o di interpretazione. Infine fate una seconda lettura e ascolto nell’inglese originale.

[INTERMEDIATE / ADVANCED]

What it was

~ Mark Strand ~

I
It was impossible to imagine, impossible
Not to imagine; the blueness of it, the shadow it cast,
Falling downward, filling the dark with the chill of itself,
The cold of it falling out of itself, out of whatever idea
Of itself it described as it fell; a something, a smallness,
A dot, a speck, a speck within a speck, an endless depth
Of smallness; a song, but less than a song, something drowning
Into itself, something going, a flood of sound, but less
Than a sound; the last of it, the blank of it,
The tender small blank of it filling its echo, and falling,
And rising unnoticed, and falling again, and always thus,
And always because, and only because, once having been, it was…

II
It was the beginning of a chair;
It was the gray couch; it was the walls,
The garden, the gravel road; it was the way
The ruined moonlight fell across her hair.
It was that, and it was more. It was the wind that tore
At the trees; it was the fuss and clutter of clouds, the shore
Littered with stars. It was the hour which seemed to say
That if you knew what time it really was, you would not
Ask for anything again. It was that. It was certainly that.
It was also what never happened – a moment so full
That when it went, as it had to, no grief was large enough
To contain it. It was the room that appeared unchanged
After so many years. It was that. It was the hat
She’d forgotten to take, the pen she left on the table.
It was the sun on my hand. It was the sun’s heat. It was the way
I sat, the way I waited for hours, for days. It was that. Just that.


Cos’era

I
Era impossibile da immaginare, impossibile
da non immaginare; la sua azzurrezza, l’ombra che lasciava,
che cadeva, riempiva l’oscurità del proprio freddo,
il suo freddo che cadeva fuori da se stesso, fuori da qualsiasi idea
di sé descrivesse nel cadere; un qualcosa, una minuzia,
una macchia, un punto, un punto in un punto, un abisso infinito
di minuzia; una canzone, ma meno di una canzone, qualcosa che
affoga in sé, qualcosa che va, un’alluvione di suono, ma meno
di un suono; la sua fine, il suo vuoto,
il suo tenero, piccolo vuoto che colma la sua eco, e cade,
e si alza, inavvertito, e cade ancora, e così sempre,
e sempre perché, e solo perché, essendo stato, era…

II
Era l’inizio di una sedia;
era il divano grigio; era i muri,
il giardino, la strada di ghiaia; era il modo in cui
i ruderi di luna le crollavano sulla chioma.
Era quello, ed era altro ancora; era il vento che azzannava
gli alberi; era la congerie confusa di nubi, la bava
di stelle sulla riva. Era l’ora che pareva dire
che se sapevi in che punto esatto del tempo si era, non avresti
mai piu’ chiesto nulla. Era quello. Senz’altro era quello.
Era anche l’evento mai avvenuto – un momento tanto pieno
che quando se ne andò, come doveva, nessun dolore riusciva
a contenerlo. Era la stanza che pareva la stessa
dopo tanti anni. Era quello. Era il cappello
dimenticato da lei, la penna che lei lasciò sul tavolo.
Era il sole sulla mia mano. Era il caldo del sole. Era come
sedevo, come attendevo per ore, per giorni. Era quello. Solo quello.

(traduzione di Damiano Abeni)


7 comments

  1. Dear Host Teacher,

    I am Letizia. I was born and raised in Rome about 59 years ago, and I spent my whole life around here, even if I traveled quite a bit. I started playing when I was a child, with my sister and brothers. When I grew up I started playing professionally and still do. I also have a job in a research institute as information specialist. I am divorced and have four kids — two girls and two boys — that by now are grown up and have taken their own way (ehr…. more or less). Since I always loved languages and mostly sing in English and French, I am always striving to get my best. Therefore I think it useful to keep studying and refreshing one’s own capabilities. I must say I really have little time to study but I’d like I to find a way to do it and do it well. Do you think Ingliando could help me somehow?

    Thanks for your help, have a nice week.

    Letizia

    1. Hi Letizia, thanks for getting in touch. Well, judging from your presentation, your English is already pretty good! Ingliando does not really cater for advanced levels of English, but what I try to do, as best I can, is to help students feel more confident with their English. All I can suggest is that you explore the site a bit and see if you think it may be useful for you. You don’t have to “study” particularly, but you may find some of my articles and explanations interesting and useful. You can also join in the Daily Translation Intermediate class if you like! Do you have any of your songs online? I also sing and play guitar!

    1. Being able to appreciate poetry in another language, even if all the possible shades of meaning are not necessarily clear, is still very rewarding.

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