Translating Pasolini

Eponine Howarth

Poems by Pier Paolo Pasolini, from Carne e cielo. Translated by E.H.



The clouds sink
into the hot puddles of blue
and the branches vanish in the sun.
This is the time when I laugh, when I cry,
this is the time when I await grace,
this is the time I'm happy,
this is the time when I wander in the fields,
this is the time when I look at the skies...
(Did I scream? And does the echo not go out?
And is my cry not farther
than the clouds? Could I not suffocate
my naive, entertained joy?)



My room has palm tree charms.
The white messy bed,
the innocent notebooks: the presence
in me of this physical joy
which is the life you live alone.


Then sparrows spread out like
confused butterflies; the earth, in the sun,
passionate and indifferent…


And among the red-hot vineyards
and the bright plaster of the houses,
a possessed bell sound.


—-


I’ve been facing the same white walls for the last eighty days. I sit on the unchanging, messy bed, filling up innocent notebooks, one by one, with thoughts of hot puddles of blue and palm tree branches vanishing in the sun.


I sink further into the mattress. This is the time when I await grace. This is the time when I laugh, when I cry. I scream, but the echo doesn’t go beyond the walls of my room.


With an ongoing pandemic, the idea of spending a few months in Italy becomes unthinkable. Instead, I scan the bookshelf, grab Pasolini’s Carne e cielo, and curl up in the bathtub. That is the closest I’ll get to lying on a sunny beach in Tuscany this summer.

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