Monday, October 22, 2012


Looking through some papers this morning I found one of the the "haiku" handouts I distributed to my annual Forms class at Emerson College,

and in it I rediscovered this beautiful little poem by Margherita Guidacci, with an English translation by a  translator whose name to my regret I didn't include and can't remember . . . maybe it's by Ruth Feldman, who translated at least 3 books by Guidacci—

in any case, here's her poem in the original Italian, followed by the trans., which is followed by my "version":


É crollata la diga del sole, crollato
l'ultimo rosso, l'ultimo rose, l'ultimo grigio.  Sul mondo
ora le grandi acque oscure dilagano in pace.
E no entriamo nell'arca fino alla prossima aurora.



The dam of the sun has given way, gone too
is the last red, the last rose, the last grey.  Now
across the world the great dark waters overflow in peace.
And we take refuge in the Ark until the next dawn.


My variant version:

Now the sunset's dam breaks—
waters of darkness drown the world.
What Ark will bear us safe to dawn?


And may I please recommend this wonderful book:

A Book of Sibyls, by Margherita Guidacci, translated by Ruth Feldman,

published in 1989—

you can find some inexpensive copies at:


The first poet on this planet was probably a sibyl, a woman shaman who spoke from earth-evoked and bodily wisdom, and Guidacci's book of sibyls presents the voices of many of those most ancient and renowned: Cumean, Delphic, Phrygian, etc.  Cthonic-timeless its perspectives view us.


postscript 11/02/12:

another translation, by Catherine O'Brien, from "In the Eastern Sky / Selected Poems of Margherita Guidacci". . . published by the Irish press Dedalus in 1993:


The dam of the sun has collapsed, gone too
the last red, the last pink, the last grey.  Across the world
now the great dark waters overflow unhindered.
And we go into the ark to wait for the coming dawn.



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