Author: Pascoli, Giovanni
Date published: April 1, 2011
And in the night so dark and bleak,
a sudden crash, like cliffs down-tumbling,
as thunder boomed with deafening roar:
resounded, bounced, and rolled off rumbling
a moment's calm and then one more
upsurge. A hush. A mother's pure
and soothing song, a cradle's creak.
translated by Gregory Dowling
Giovanni Pascoli (1855-19 12) produced nine volumes of Italian poetry as well as prize-winning poetry in Latin, critical essays, and literary translations into Italian. His tragic personal losses, especially the deaths of both parents and five siblings, are echoed in his haunting symbolist verse. For Pascoli, whose father had been murdered when he was only twelve years old, childhood was no state of Wordsworthian innocence. Nonetheless, poetry for him was a way to give voice to one's "inner child," who was able to grasp and to express mysterious aspects of life concealed from the adult's reasoning mind. His most important collections are Myricae (1891-1905) and Canti di Castelvecchio (1903). His collection inspired by classical themes, Convivial Poems (trans. Lunardi and Nugent), and his essay exploring the child-like nature of true poets, The Eternal Child trans. La Valva), are available in English. His poetry has been translated by E. J. Scovell, Lawrence Venuti, and Geoffrey Brock, among others.