Poetry corner - Ungaretti

Poetry corner – Ungaretti

Giuseppe Ungaretti was born in Egypt in 1888 and died in Milan in 1970. He is one of Italy’s greatest poets of the XXth century. Together with his contemporaries Montale and Quasimodo, Ungaretti embraced a new form of symbolic, lyrical poetry (hermeticism) in which structure, syntax and punctuation were abandoned.

Ungaretti was primarily a poet but also an essaying, journalist (including foreign correspondent for La Gazzetta del Popolo) and academic. Politically, he was closely associated with Mussolini’s fascism and later much criticised for this affiliation. He became Professor of Italian at São Paulo University in Brazil, and then Professor of Modern Literature at the University of Rome.


Cammina cammina
ho ritrovato
il pozzo d’amore

di mill’una notte
ho riposato

Agli abbandonati giardini
ella approdava
come una colomba

Fra l’aria
del meriggio
ch’era uno svenimento
le ho colto
arance e gelsumini

Here is a translation by Kevin Hart (in The buried harbour)

That time again

Marching, forever marching / I’ve stumbled on /love’s well again
In the eye / of a thousand and one nights / I’ve camped
To the deserted gardens / she came / like a dove
In the swooning air / of noon / I picked for her /oranges and jasmine

Yvette Devlin