Poem of the Week: Mario Moroni

Poem of the Week: Mario Moroni

by Mike Foldes on January 20, 2012

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in Poems of the Week

Ballata del Maine

Volo impercettibilmente calmo, come in un film
in cui suo fratello guardava distrattamente la spiaggia,
per poi trovare conforto in una nuvola
su cui l’occhio si posava,
come quella volta, ancora in volo, ma con altri,
non più suo fratello ormai distratto, senza conforto,
con altri che all’epoca parlavano di morte, come la morte
fosse passata calma, in volo, come in un film
a parlare di morte, morte come blocco della foto
remota eppure presente, saluto a due mani
da lontano, nel fotogramma ingiallito, quelli che rimangono
fanno domande, se lo chiedono, dove si va?
Ma sì, c’e’ da chiederselo, che succede, cosa si vede?

Ora come in un film, ma questa volta all’indietro,
ai giorni di scuola, sulle scale che contengono le impronte
che ancora parlano di lui, come quella volta con i suoi amici,
ancorati alle pagine, a parlare di morte, era sull’Atlantico, era sul Pacifico?
Da est ad ovest, da ovest ad est, a parlare
da est ad ovest, da ovest ad est per non tornare
non tornare ai giorni della scuola, quelli della pioggia,
irragiungibili, così ad ovest come ad est.
impercettibili, in volo, a chiederselo, che cosa si vede?
Andando verso ovest, verso est, come sempre
alla fine del ritornello, verso ovest verso est
a chiederselo di nuovo, che cosa si vede?
Perché poi a parlare sono gli altri, che guardano non visti,
non uditi, come in volo, impercettibili, come sempre.

Ballad of Maine
(Translation by Olivia Holmes)

A still imperceptible flight, like in a film
in which his brother watched the beach distractedly,
to find comfort then in a cloud
on which his eye rested,
like that time, still in flight, but with others,
no longer his brother, distracted by now, discomforted,
with others that at the time spoke of death, as death
had passed calmly, in flight, like in a film
speaking of death, death as a freeze of the photo
remote and yet present, a two-handed wave
from far off, in the yellowing movie still, those who are left
inquire, they ask themselves, where do we go?
Indeed, we should wonder, what happens, what can be seen?

Now, as if in a film, but backwards this time,
to his schooldays, on the stairs that keep the prints
that still speak of him, like that time among friends
anchored to the pages, speaking of death, on the Atlantic or the Pacific?
From east to west, from west to east, speaking,
from east to west, from west to east, not turning back,
not going back to his schooldays, the rainy ones,
unreachable, to the west or east,
imperceptible, in flight, to wonder: what can be seen?
Going westward, eastward, as always
at the end of the refrain, westward eastward
wondering again: what can be seen?
Because it is the others who speak, who look without being seen
or heard, as if in flight, imperceptible, as always.

_______________________________________________
Mario Moroni was born in Italy in 1955. He moved to the United States in 1989. He has taught at Yale University, the University of Memphis, and Colby College. He currently teaches Italian at Binghamton University. Moroni has published seven volumes of poetry and one of poetic prose. In 1989 he was awarded the Lorenzo Montano prize for poetry.

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