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Old 02-04-2018, 01:32 AM
Andrew Frisardi Andrew Frisardi is offline
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Default Clemente Rebora

Clemente Rebora (1885-1957), born in Milan, was well known among the early Italian modernists. Around 1910 he started publishing poems, and his first collection came out in 1913. He was a soldier in World War I, where he was injured and later traumatized by PTSD. “Dall’immagine tesa,” his most widely anthologized piece and very well known in Italy, is from his collection Canti Anonimi, published in 1922. An agnostic or atheist up to the 1920s, sometime during that decade he became a devout Catholic and eventually became a priest. He gave up writing for a number of years, and when he returned to it the subject matter was explicitly religious or doctrinal.

You can hear/see a reading of the poem here.


From the stretched-out image
I keep the moment’s vigil
with imminence of waiting,
and I expect no one:
in shadow that is lit
I eye the doorbell,
which imperceptibly emits
a pollen-cloud of sound—
and I expect no one:
between four walls
astonished by space
greater than a desert
I expect no one:
but he must come,
will come, if I resist
and bloom unnoticed,
come of a sudden,
when I am less aware:
will come like pardon
for what brings death,
will come to make me sure
of his and my treasure,
will come like solace
for my own sorrows and his,
will come, perhaps already comes,
his whisper.

Revisions 2-8: "am less aware" was "await it least" and "sorrows" was "torments


Dall’immagine tesa
vigilo l’istante
con imminenza di attesa—
e non aspetto nessuno:
nell’ombra accesa
spio il campanello
che impercettibile spande
un polline di suono—
e non aspetto nessuno:
fra quattro mura
stupefatte di spazio
più che un deserto
non aspetto nessuno:
ma deve venire,
verrà, se resisto
a sbocciare non visto,
verrà d’improvviso,
quando meno l’avverto:
verrà quasi perdono
di quanto fa morire,
verrà a farmi certo
del suo e mio tesoro,
verrà come ristoro
delle mie e sue pene,
verrà, forse già viene
il suo bisbiglio.


prose crib

From the extended image I keep watch/vigil on the moment with imminence of waiting—and I expect / wait for no one. In the lit up shadow I spy the doorbell which, imperceptible, spreads a pollen of sound—and I expect/wait for no one. Between four walls (which are) astonished/amazed/stunned by space more than a desert I expect / wait for no one. But he/it must come, will come, if I resist (and don’t) blossom/bloom unseen, will come suddenly, when I notice/perceive it less (when it is less on my mind): will come like a pardon of what makes die, will come to make me sure of his/its and my treasure, will come like a solace for my and his sufferings/pains/torments, will come, perhaps already comes his whisper/murmuring.

Last edited by Andrew Frisardi; 02-08-2018 at 09:30 AM.
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Old 02-04-2018, 07:13 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Andrew,

I've printed and compared the Italian line by line with your English, and have almost no suggestions. I love solace. Is torments what you need? Everything else seems to me to fit the Italian neatly and without join. I did wonder why you use some initial caps...
Perhaps we can sense his calling in this poem? Though that's a bit biographical.

Cheers,
John
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Old 02-04-2018, 09:47 AM
Andrew Frisardi Andrew Frisardi is offline
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Thanks, John. You mention the two things I changed at the last minute: the initial caps and "torments." I put the latter because he's referring there to Christ's Passion, and "pains" doesn't seem the right word for that. But I'm not sure.

The initial caps, maybe I should just put them for all the lines as he did, but it feels more natural (to me) with the lower-case verse openings, yet for each word after a colon it seems odd to use lower-case.

So I'm not sure about that yet either.

I don't think it is at all too biographical to think of this as connected with his calling. It's Rebora as agnostic rather than atheist, and there is no question a consciously religious meaning to the poem.

His parents were anti-clerics of the Risorgimento, and that was part of his personal struggle with those things.

Best,

Andrew
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Old 02-04-2018, 10:41 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Andrew,

Could maybe "sorrows" work for pene?
I am reassured about my biographical urge here, thanks!

Cheers,
John
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Old 02-06-2018, 12:54 AM
Andrew Frisardi Andrew Frisardi is offline
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Thanks for coming back to this, John. I've considered your suggestion, but the problem with "sorrows" is that we tend to use it less for physical pains, which the crucifixion centers on. So I'm still sitting on that word. I agree that "torments" isn't great.
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Old 02-06-2018, 06:39 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Andrew,

I of course stole it from Isaiah 53.3:

King James Bible
He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

I agree, though, the focus there is not the Crucifixion.

Cheers,
John
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Old 02-07-2018, 12:03 AM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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Hello, Andrew. Thanks for introducing me to this poet and poem.

I only question "when I await it least" for "quando meno l’avverto"

"when I sense it less"

"when I expect it less"

?
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Old 02-08-2018, 09:34 AM
Andrew Frisardi Andrew Frisardi is offline
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Hello John. Yeah, I did think of that biblical association with "sorrows," and you're right, it does do nicely to shade the meaning toward the crucifixion. Also, the sound is nice with "solace" after it. So I'm going for that suggestion, thanks for it. Also, I'm lower-casing all opening words of the verses.

Hello Aaron, I was going for an off-rhyme with "least," but have tried out "am less aware" now, which also subtly echoes some of the nearby words. Thanks for stopping by.
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Old 02-16-2018, 11:16 AM
Kevin Greene Kevin Greene is offline
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Such a poem! And so many decisions to be made!

I would fight for months with myself over what should best be done. For instance, I would try to save as much of the rhyme as I could, but to what avail? Would one gain more than what is lost? I don't know.

Other choices would not be any easier, though I would use 'when least expected' in a heartbeat. I would force 'recompense' down the poem's throat for 'ristoro.' (And I don't know when I would give it up.)

Tell me, how did you decide on the first line? (I might have preferred emotional tension over the physical.) And why do you seem to shy away from 'pain' or 'pains'? Just curious.

I have other questions, but I don't want to bore you. Ask if you are interested. Otherwise, please accept congratulations on what is a wonderful start.
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Old 02-18-2018, 03:21 AM
Andrew Frisardi Andrew Frisardi is offline
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Hi Kevin,

I’m pretty much set with this one, apart from the “less aware” line, which I will probably fiddle with. “Expect it least” might be a good way to go.

For the rest, I didn’t use “pains,” as I mentioned to John above, because for me that word doesn’t resonate with the Christ parallel he’s alluding to there.

In the opening line I like the sense of him physically stretched out on the image like Jesus on the cross.

As for rhyming, I preferred in this to use off-rhyme and assonance rather than full rhyme, especially with the short lines, which would require messing too much with the poem to pull that off English (far easier in Italian of course).

Thanks for taking the time to stop by and comment, and don’t hesitate if you feel like asking something or commenting further. As I say, I’m pretty much ok with the poem as it stands, though a tweak or two might happen at some point.

All best,

Andrew
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