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Epilogue, Notes for an Eclogue

By (October 1, 2008) No Comment

trans. Wayne Chambliss

Notes for an Eclogue

Personae: a, b, c, d, e

b — (matter, spots, pseudo-braille)

a — The anancasm we call life:

spots, machines, muscles, ashes, spasms.

That’s how the dice were tossed

in which you lost yourself, and you yourself were lost.

c — (various codes for all the sounds)

a — Neither thesis, earth, nor energy. Not even spirit.

Neither civil nor intimate ode.

In the key of fire, of darkness.

But rather—retina and reticulum,

plot and omentum.

First convention: in which everything is remade as reason.

d — (chain of dactyls, spondees etc.)

a — O which and how much of that living star,

already abated,

which and how much, attenuated

beyond the boundaries of its own light.

Which and how much—speed us to the other side of silence!

e — (mathematical symbols etc.)

a — Integrating, at the limit, suspended

only minimally above the soil

of the impossible, impossibly here,

and here also

to say the impossible

and the possible. And reversibly

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Adverb: mental “ly”. Milky security.

Andrea Zanzotto was born in Pieve di Soligo (in 1921), where he currently resides. He is the author of more than twenty-five books of poetry and prose, including IX Ecloghe (Mondadori, 1962), La Belt (Mondadori, 1968) and, more recently, Sovrimpressioni (Mondadori, 2001). He has received several major literary prizes, including the Viareggio (1979), the Librex-Montale (1983), and the Feltrinelli (1987). His work in English translation includes The Selected Poetry of Andrea Zanzotto (Princeton University Press, 1975), Peasants Wake for Fellini’s Casanova and Other Poems (University of Illinois Press, 1997) and The Selected Poetry and Prose of Andrea Zanzotto: A Bilingual Edition (University of Chicago Press, 2007).

Wayne Chambliss is a poet and a translator. His work has recently appeared in Words Without Borders, Fence, jubilat, Octopus, Fascicle, Drunken Boat, and other literary journals. He has a chapbook, The Traveling Salesman Problem (The Caitlins, 2006). His translations have been included in New European Poets (Greywolf Press, 2008) and The Disappearing Pheasant: An Anthology of Italian Poetry 1950-2000 (Agincourt, 2009). Wayne lives in Portland, OR.

Poem copyright © Andrea Zanzotto. All rights reserved, handled by Agenzia Letteraria Internazionale, Milano.