Guido Gozzano was born to a well-to-do family in Turin in 1883 and died there of tuberculosis in 1916 after suffering poor health for much of his short life. He was a poet and writer. His main publications were the poetry collection I colloqui and the book Verso la cuna del mondo – Letters from India, written in prose during a trip to India and Colombo undertaken for health and cultural reasons. He also wrote some children’s short stories and the script for a film on S. Francis of Assisi, which however was never made.

Gozzano belonged to a group of poets called ‘crepuscular’ – with their poetry characterised by musical tones and melancholic feelings. Musicality is apparent in the following poem, though hope prevails over moodiness.


Un bacio. Ed è lungi. Dispare

giù in fondo, là dove si perde

la strada boschiva che pare

un gran corridoio nel verde.

Risalgo qui dove dianzi

vestiva il bell’abito grigio:

rivedo l’uncino, i romanzi

ed ogni sottile vestigio…

Mi piego al balcone. Abbandono

la gota sopra la ringhiera.

E non sono triste. Non sono

più triste. Ritorna stasera.

E intanto declina l’estate.

E sopra un geranio vermiglio,

fremendo le ali caudate

si libra un enorme Papilio…

L’azzurro infinito del giorno

è come una seta ben tesa;

ma sulla serena distesa

la luna già pensa al ritorno.

Lo stagno risplende. Si tace

la rana. Ma guizza un bagliore

d’acceso smeraldo, di brace

azzurra: il martin pescatore.

E non sono triste. Ma sono

stupito se guardo il giardino…

stupito di che? non mi sono

sentito mai tanto bambino…

 Stupito di che? Delle cose.

I fiori mi paiono strani:

ci sono pur sempre le rose,

ci sono pur sempre i gerani…

Here is a translation by Valeriu Raut I found on Google. I think it’s pretty good.


A kiss. And she’s far off. She disappears / down there, where the wooded / road, which seems to be a great corridor / in the green, is lost.

I go back there again, where before / she wore her beautiful grey dress: / I see her crochet needle again, her novels / and every subtle trace …

I lean on the edge of my balcony. I abandon / my face over the railing. / I am not sad. I am not / sad any more. She’s coming back tonight.

And all around the summer is declining./ And above a scarlet geranium, / its quivering wing tips, shaped like tails, / an enormous Butterfly flutters in the air …

The infinite blue of the day / is like a well-stretched silk; / but on the serene expanse / the moon is already thinking about its return.

The pool is shining. The frog / is hushed. But a flash of fiery / emerald, flickers of blue / embers: the kingfisher.

And I am not sad. But I am / astonished if I look at the garden … / astonished at what? I have never / felt so much like a child …

Astonished at what? At things. / The flowers appear strange to me: / the roses are still here, / the geraniums are still there …

Yvette Devlin