In the last edition of this newsletter I presented a poem on Venice by Diego Valeri. As I like this poet very much because of its clarity, I’ve decided to share another one with you. But first, a reminder of who Valeri is, as written for the previous issue of the Dante Review.
Valeri was born near Padua in January 1887 and died in Rome in November 1976. He pursued a teaching career, at first teaching Italian and Latin at high school and later teaching French language and literature at the University of Padua. It was at this university that he was subsequently offered the chair of History of Italian Literature. The poet also worked as translator and even became a councillor of the city of Venice, a city he loved and that often features in his poetry.
Valeri’s poetry style is direct and clear, displaying strong emotions. It is described by his translator Michael Palma as ‘quite firmly within the great classic European tradition’.
Solitudine dura e cara,
compagna dei miei tardi giorni,
alla mensa d’erba amara,
al torbo vino dei ricordi,
soli siamo, tu ed io.
Pur non è triste il nostro stato:
una dolcezza lenta di oblio
già impolvera e copre il passato.
E fuori ride un cielo puro,
splende il prato di tenere erbe.
Ancora sui rami del futuro
la speranza ha fior del verde.
Here is Palma’s translation
Solitude hard and dear, / mate of these late days of mine, / with the bitter herbs spread here, / with memories’ muddy wine,
we are alone, you and I. / Our life is not sad, nonetheless: / the past has been dust-coated by / a sweet slow forgetfulness.
A clear sky laughs over the house, / soft green gives the field a sheen. / And still on the future’s boughs / hope shows a flower of green.