Far Away And Long Ago: Short Love Poems in Memory of Luisa

A Selection of Four Love Poems
by GIAN FRANCO SPOTTI


Translated into English by Lasha Darkmoon,
with apologies to the Italian poet for any mistranslations.
Short video added in memory of Luisa.

LOST  LOVE
(Amore Perduto)

“Where are you, my Love?”


Wandering down the street
shattered
eyes blinded by tears.

Where are you, my Love?

I see your face
in the trees.
The primal scream
of the seagulls
pierces my heart.

See now, how autumn comes
dropping its yellow leaves
as I abandon all hope
of seeing you again.


An alternative version by ‘Traducteur’ :

Lost love


I drift along the pavement, sore at heart,
Eyes full of tears. Where are you now, my love?
There! there! I see your face amid the trees!
Alas, the raucous gulls cry all is lost.
Autumn will soon be here. The yellowing leaves
Are falling, even as my hopes are dashed.
Would God that you and I might meet again once more!

 

AUTUMN
(Autunno)


Ah, season of mists,
season of memories!—
the leaves, so weary

from the long hot summer,
how they drift down
mantling the earth with regrets.

The warms colours of Autumn,
how they remind me
of your luminous eyes,

radiant
with beauty,
you lovelier than ever.

Something within me  
brings me into your arms.  
There I hold you tenderly.

Sunset, ah the radiance
of the autumn sunset!—
Let me kiss you in its dazzling light. 

FLY  AWAY
(Volarsene Via)


If I were born again
I would like
to be a bird.

To glide like a wave
between sea and sky
to breathe in the pure air of the North Pole.

I soak up the light of sunset
as I take off
on my long migration.

I say: Goodbye
to the miserable hunter  
who finds false glory in his kill!  

I say: Goodbye
to the  rocky cliff
where I first met my sweetheart!

Climb on my wings, my love,
and let us head
for the rainbow.

Let us fly
past the green isles
to the wild south lands.

Let us find
the Bridge of Happiness
between past and future.

Let us fly
from the Lands of Mist
to where the sea is always blue,

to where mystery reigns
and reality dissolves
into a dream.


TOGETHER
(Insieme)


What can be lovelier than this:
to live by your side forever?
to dream, to travel, to laugh, to kiss—
just you and me together.

When the last song dies on our lips
And the world vanishes away
And Life and the Song of Life slips
From our fingers—Love will still stay!

When the light goes out, Love goes on.
To the end of time it goes.
When the mad world’s business is done,
The river of love still flows.

Let these last few moments together
Allow us to find what we’ve lost—
To pick up the crumbs and to gather
All the things we must learn to our cost.


ANGIE : A FACE TO REMEMBER

“Angie”, released by the Rolling Stones in August 1973, remains a favourite song with many young people who were alive in the vibrant decades of the 1960s and 1970s. This haunting song happens to have a special place in the memories of the poet Gian Franco who was still in his teens in the early 1970s and who grew up in the north of Italy—where the above poems, in his own words, were written “far away and long ago”.  The song conjures up a vanished past, poignant and precious not only for this particular poet but for so many others who were lucky to be young and alive in that golden era. The song “Angie” brings it all back . . .   

VIDEO   :   4.30 mins

12 thoughts to “Far Away And Long Ago: Short Love Poems in Memory of Luisa”

  1. I do recognize the pre-Raphaelite painting by Frederic Leighton, of the beautiful, young woman curled up sleeping, with the ocean in the distant background, I love the painting so much I have a nice, reproduction hanging in my bedroom. Frederic Leighton designed Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s tomb for Robert Browning in the English Cemetery, Florence in 1861. Thank-you for posting the lovely poetry and paintings. The following video should lift spirits as well. Art, Transcendence and the Gatekeepers….5 minutes.
    All of his presentations uplift our race.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wllaUCk8y4

  2. Superbly translated! I myself promised to offer my own version of some of these Italian poems, but unfortunately kept putting it off from day to day.
    In fact, by sheer coincidence, I had selected for translation the same four poems that Lasha Darkmoon decided to translate.

    My own versions, I regret to say, would have been hopelessly banal and pedestrian in comparison.

    This is because LD has employed certain techniques of translation I had not even thought about. These work very well here to bring out the general message of a long ago time and the evanescence of things: of love won and lost, leaving nothing behind but a residue of nostalgia and precious memories.

    1. What are these “techniques”? There are two I can spot right away, though there may be others: ( 1) Formal structure. (2) Rhyme and meter.

      First, LD gives her first three translations a FORMAL STRUCTURE that the original Italian poems do not possess. The original poems are written in unstructured “free verse”, i.e. unrhymed prose broken up into separate lines. This is sometimes referred to — somewhat derogatively — as “chopped-up prose”.

      LD breaks up the whole poem into short-lined TRIPLETS (= unrhymed 3-line stanzas), giving emphasis to certain words by putting them in a separate short line of their own. Like this:

      Ah, season of mists,
      season of memories!—
      the leaves, so weary

      from the long hot summer,
      how they drift down
      mantling the earth with regrets.

      The warms colours of Autumn,
      how they remind me
      of your luminous eyes,

      radiant
      with beauty,
      you lovelier than ever.

      FORMAL STRUCTURE = each stanza has 3 very short tines (‘triplets’).

      1. The second technique LD employs is RHYME AND METER. This is used here only with one poem, the fourth poem entitled “Together”. This consists of rhyming quatrains arranged in an A-B-A-B rhyme scheme. Extra rhythm and “musicality” is obtained by the mathematical counting of syllables and stresses. LD appears to be an enthusiast for traditional “prosody”, a lost art nowadays, in which supreme importance is placed on sound effects.

        Musicality transcends meaning and indeed has its own transcendental meaning. Plato knew that Mathematics and Music were closely related and that Poetry is the bridge between the two — but this is only when poetry imitates music by placing emphasis on rhythm, stresses, melodic effects, euphony — in short, beautiful sound effects as found in a Bach or Mozart sonata.

      2. I don’t think Lasha is right to put “free verse” into “rhyme and meter”. This is a grotesque falsification of the original poem. It’s a bit like translating Gibbon’s “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” into rhyming couplets or Shakespearean iambic tetrameters. 🙂

        Shame on you Lasha! I don’t think Gian Franco is going to be pleased at the dreadful liberties you have taken with his text! Don’t ever try and translate MY immortal verse into “rhyme and meter” — or I’ll sue you for literary vandalism! 🙂

        I mean, c’mon! If I say to you in simple prose, “Good morning, Lasha! Isn’t it a fine day?” I don’t expect you to suddenly break into an operatic aria like Maria Callas having an epileptic fit! Get a grip darling, u r making yourself look ri-DICK-ulous! 🙂

  3. Please give this 5 minute video another try as I noticed the link above will not work. However, the video is still available on You Tube for viewing. Instead of providing another link to the video, I have provided the name of the channel (still on) You Tube: Aetius Praetorian, and his most recent video, “Art, Transcendence and the Gatekeepers”

    1. The link works for me. Try again. If you get nothing
      by clicking on the arrow in the video itself,
      try clicking on the embedded link where it says:

      VIDEO : 4.30 mins.

      1. Thank-you, Saki. I love these words from the video. “Why have they chosen art as a weapon? Because the European tradition is art. It has always been our core language, representing our philosophical spirit. And when one has closed the gates to the transcendent, one conquers another’s soul, their sacred perception, and the psychic architecture of their entire race. It is this loss of spiritual sovereignty that is the greatest infirmity afflicting our people at present and if allowed to continue will exhaust us to death.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97rmBrFSYgM

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