Skip to content

Eight poems from ‘Mala kruna’.

By FRANCA MANCINELLI.

from Mala kruna (2007), now included in A un’ora da sonno da qui, Edizioni Italic Pequod, 2018

.

translated from the Italian by John Taylor.

.

1. on the horizon a different sea
stopped the blood under your fingernails.
A black-clad mother on the island
came to your side, told you about the wind,
the bad weather keeping the boats
from leaving;
then she stared at a spot on the wall
along the street a feast was beginning

mala kruna, she said
little crown of thorns.

all’orizzonte un mare diverso
fermava il sangue sotto le unghie.
Madre nera nell’isola
ti venne a fianco e ti disse del vento,
un cattivo tempo che non faceva
partire le barche;
poi fissò un punto sul muro
lungo la strada iniziava una festa

mala kruna, disse
piccola corona di spine.

2. enunciated words form a circle
until the silver, the edge slices.

You arrive in the speechless years, hands pressed
over my lips, my body lost.
Ever a fairy tale to tell,
the quiet sea beating in my temples
lulls me to sleep.

scandite le parole sono un cerchio
fino all’argento, al filo che taglia.

Vieni negli anni muti, mani premute
sulle labbra, il corpo perso.
Sempre una favola da raccontare
il mare quieto batte nelle tempie
e mi addormenta.

3. when the tide pulls the blankets back
needles sprout on the skin:
to leave in time
take oneself on a trip.

And who would have grabbed an edge
of my jacket and restrained me, you ask,
on the pillow of Mount Ardizio you watch
clam fishermen leaning over
to tuck you in under the sunlight.

con la marea che scopre le coperte
spuntano dalla pelle gli aghi:
partire per tempo
accompagnarsi in gita.

E chi mi avrebbe mai piegato un lembo
della giacca e trattenuto, chiedi,
sul guanciale dell’Ardizio segui
pescatori di vongole chinarsi
a rimboccare il sole.

4. the train’s not leaving yet, stay,
open your eyes to the wavy golden shade
the wisteria branches, the shutters

and now close them again
it’s a wound to realize
we’re two fingers of the same hand

a bridge over water and its reflection
the whole circle of a crescent moon.

non è questa l’ora del treno, resta
apri gli occhi all’ombra ondulata d’oro
i rami del glicine, le persiane

e ora chiudili di nuovo
è una ferita accorgersi che siamo
due dita di una stessa mano

siamo un ponte sull’acqua e il suo riflesso
cerchio intero di una falce di luna.

5. sometimes one leaves prison
with eyes that have grown,
escaped the spring pruning.
And every footstep is a station,
as the tide rises in the darkness.

ogni tanto si esce di prigione
a occhi cresciuti
scampati al taglio della primavera.
E ogni passo è una stazione,
come la marea sale nel buio.

6. I read lying down, the book on my chest
is my third lung
opening, closing again.

Like an amphibian I was on the shore.

leggo stesa, il libro sul torace
è il mio terzo polmone
che s’apre e si richiude.

Come un anfibio stavo sulla sponda.

7. the suicidal step onto the tracks
empties mouths.

The morgue is a calm lake: the boats
oval like a woman’s seed,
the flesh where a son ever sleeps.

il passo sui binari del suicida
svuota le bocche.

L’obitorio è un lago calmo: le barche
ovali come il seme di una donna,
la carne dove dorme sempre un figlio.

8. like the light switch at night
I find while stroking the wall
of this life I know where love is
as I grope back to the age of sixteen.
It happened then that a tender bed sheet
enveloped me from my neck down,
imprinting the contours you now see,
the image that I am.

come l’interruttore nella notte
che trovo accarezzando la parete
di questa vita so dov’è l’amore
a tentoni ritorno a sedici anni.
Accadde allora che un lenzuolo tenero
mi avvolse dalla nuca
imprimendo i contorni che ora vedi,
l’immagine che sono.


Franca Mancinelli was born in Fano, Italy, in 1981. Her first two books of verse poetry, Mala kruna (2007) and Pasta madre (2013), were awarded several prizes in Italy and have now been republished together as A un’ora di sonno da qui (2018). In 2018 also appeared her collection of prose poems, Libretto di transito, translated by John Taylor into English as The Little Book of Passage and published by The Bitter Oleander Press. Mancinelli’s work is already familiar to readers of The Fortnightly Review, which was one of the first English-language magazines to publish her work in translation. See these samples from The Little Book of Passage and her autobiographical prose text, “Maria, towards Cartoceto”. She was recently the Chair Poet in Residence in Kolkata, India.

John Taylor, a contributing editor of The Fortnightly Review, is an Iowa-born writer, critic, and translator who lives in France. He has translated many French and Italian poets into English. The Fortnightly Review has published his translation of Philippe Jaccottet’s Truinas,  He is also the author of several volumes of short prose and poetry, most recently The Dark Brightness (Xenos), Grassy Stairways (MadHat), Remembrance of Water & Twenty-Five Trees (Bitter Oleander) and, recently , a “double book” with the Swiss poet Pierre Chappuis: A Notebook of Clouds & A Notebook of Ridges, published by Odd Volumes for The Fortnightly Review.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *
*
*

You can add images to your comment by clicking here.