“The Gentle Hill” by Salvatore Quasimodo

Birds far-off and open in the evening
tremble on the river. And the rain insists
and the hissing of the poplars illumined
by the wind. Like everything remote
do you return to mind. The light green
of your dress is here among the plants
burnt by lightning flashes where the gentle
hill of Ardenno rises and one hears
the kite hawk on the fans of broomcorn.

Perhaps in my return deluded, I
confided in that flight of locked-in spirals
the harshness, the defeated Christian pity,
and this naked pain of sadnesses.
You have a flower of coral in your hair.
But your face is an unchanging shadow;
(thus does death). From the darkened houses
of our borough, I hear the Adda and the rain,
or perhaps a quivering of human steps
upon the banks among the tender canes.
Translated by Allen Mandelbaum

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