Lilac and laurel had blossomed. She sewed
——–sleeves of a wedding dress limp in her lap.
Night hadn’t brought forth its cache of new stars.
——–Nor mimosa trees folded their leaves.
She laughed, a bold and sudden laugh—oh last
——–black swallows, why and with whom
did she laugh? She laughed, like that,
——–with angels. Clouds of blooming, clouds of gold.
Translated from the Italian by Taije Silverman with Marina Della Putta Johnston
Giovanni Pascoli (b. 1855) is recognized as a founder of modern Italian verse. Deeply imagistic, his poems incorporate a range of sounds—bird calls, rural dialects—into the elevated diction and classical prosody of nineteenth-century poetry.
Taije Silverman’s translations of Pascoli with Marina Della Putta Johnston were published as Selected Poems of Giovanni Pascoli (Princeton).