Hi toads & friends of the Garden ~ I am happy to introduce you to Eugenio Montale.
Eugenio Montale (12 October 1896 – 12 September 1981) was an Italian poet, prose writer, editor and translator, and recipient of the 1975 Nobel Prize in Literature. He is widely considered the greatest Italian lyric poet since Giacomo Leopardi.
Shakespeare, T. S. Eliot,Herman Melville, and Eugene O’Neill. In 1939, Le occasioni(The Occasions) appeared, his most innovative book, followed by La bufera e altro (The Storm and Other Things, 1956). It was this trio of books that won Montale the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1975 and established him as a founder of the hermeneutic school of Italian poetry.
In 1948 he moved from Florence to Milan where he became chief literary critic for Italy’s primary newspaper, Corriere della Sera. In addition to writing poems, Montale was also a prolific essayist, writer of stories and travel sketches, distinguished music critic, translator, and amateur painter. After a long break from writing poetry, Montale published four collections during the last ten years of his life: Satura (Miscellany, 1971), Diario del ‘71 e del ‘72 (Diary of 1971 and 1972, 1973), Quaderno di quattro anni (Notebook of Four Years, 1977), and Altri versi e poesi disperse (Other and Uncollected Poems, 1981). Eugenio Montale died in Milan in 1981 at the age of 85.
To Rest In The Shade
(Meriggiare pallido e assorto)
To rest in the shade, pale and thoughtful,
by a sun-hot garden wall
listening among thorns and brushwood
to the cry of blackbirds, the hiss of snakes.
In cracks in the soil or amongst the vetch
to spy on the files of red ants
now scattering now intertwining
at the top of miniscule mountains.
To observe among the leaves the distant
quivering scales of the sea,
while the tremulous cries rise
from cicadas on the naked hills.
And walking in the dazzling sun
to feel with a saddened wonder
how all of life and its travails
is in this following a wall
topped by bright shards of glass.
Perhaps One Morning Walking
(Forse un mattino andando in un’aria di vetro)
Perhaps one morning walking in dry glassy air,
I will turn, I will see the miracle complete:
nothingness at my shoulder, the void behind
me, with a drunkard’s terror.
Then, as on a screen, trees houses hills
will advance swiftly in familiar illusion,
But it will be too late; and I will return, silently,
to men who do not look back, with my secret.
Another Effect Of The Moon
carrubo che si profila) del
The form of the carob tree that looms
naked against the somnolent blue,
the sound of voices, the process
of silver fingers over the doorsteps,
the feather that gets entangled, on the jetty
a trampling of feet that dies away,
and the felucca already falling back in flight
its abandoned sail in tatters.
(Cigola la carrucola
The pulley of the well-shaft creaks,
water rises to the light and dissolves you.
A memory trembles in the refilled pail,
an image smiles in its pure circle.
Touch your face to evanescent lips:
the past wavers, grows old,
belongs to another…
Ah, how the wheel groans
already, returns you to the dark depths,
vision, a distance divides us.
You can browse more of his translated work here.
Our challenge is to write a new poem or prose poem in response to Eugenio Montale's words. Some examples of responses include affirming what the speaker said or using his title or line of verse as a jumping board for your own writing. The prompt is wide open so feel free to explore where your muse takes you. I look forward to reading your work ~ Happy weekend to all ~ Grace