Ashen Hair Poem by Fabrizio Frosini

Ashen Hair

Rating: 5.0


Ashen hair only is what I see
Looking at your picture from a
Distance.

Terrible and splendid in the
Moonlight
The color of what remains.

And I cannot help but
Stare at you
When I am lying on the rock of my
Empty body

And let the voice of the waves
Cradle

My most horrific
Dreams.

Ashen Hair
This is a translation of the poem Capelli Di Cenere __ [ashen Hair] by Fabrizio Frosini
Saturday, May 16, 2015
Topic(s) of this poem: dreaming,nightmares
POET'S NOTES ABOUT THE POEM
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[my Italian translation is: ''Capelli di cenere''

Fabrizio Frosini]

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COMMENTS OF THE POEM
Daniel Brick 16 May 2015

You are referencing one of the iconic images of modern poetry. I think that the reference to Celan's poem on the gas chambers burning flesh into pieces which float through the smoky air to be buried not in soil but in air, will come through to the alert reader who has done more than just skim the poem. Your poem is written in a mood very, very close, painfully close to Celan's. I've known the poem for 30+ years and find it worthy to stand next to Celan.s although it may prefer to be on a lower tier out of respect. But Celan's poem and his mission is better served by your gesture of SPEECH than by a misguided stony silence (Of Respect?) . The respect is in sharing his faith in poetry to do justice to human suffering (pace Adorno et al.) - What we need are voices calling others to witness the personal and public dramas. You have done this.

33 0 Reply
Jette Blackstone 06 December 2017

Your poem is also moving and written in quite a different style, though clearly related to Celan. You took some of the most vivid images and placed them in a minimalist style. I must say, though, I when I read the poem again, this time I was most focused on the image/idea of black milk. The meaning of that resonated for me on multiple levels...not only levels but consequences.

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Fabrizio Frosini 10 December 2017

have you read ''Holocaust '', by Barbara Sonek? ''From the ashes, hear our plea.'' then she adds that such atrocity ''can not happen again''... unfortunately, mankind has plenty of blind and deaf people...

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Antonio Maes 23 May 2017

the explanation of your poem helps a lot. I love this beautiful poem, but only through your commentary I was able to grab its meaning. Beautiful. Thank you

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Fabrizio Frosini 31 May 2017

yes, I have to admit.. the intrinsic meaning of my poems is often obscure.. but sometimes I give an explanation.. ;) THANK YOU

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Fabrizio Frosini 24 February 2016

dear Souren, through your comment you've ''forced'' me to make 'public' the meaning of my poem.. ;) you know.. I usually prefer not to take that sort of 'veil' away.. but maybe it was the right thing to do.. since Celan's Todesfuge should be revered by all those who call themselves 'poets' and by all those who have a heart still capable to quiver! Thanks for your comment, pal!

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Fabrizio Frosini 24 February 2016

Answering a comment by my dear friend Souren: I wrote the poem 'Ashen Hair' as a tribute to Celan's TODESFUGE ('Death Fugue') . Indeed, it takes its title from Celan's line, ''Dein aschenes Haar Sulamith'': Sulamith's hair, the color of ash.. Ashen hair only is what I see Looking at your picture from a Distance. ''Your picture'' refers directly to Celan's poem 'Todesfuge', as it describes the fate of those Jews - and also of the other prisoners in Nazi's lagers. ''from a / Distance'': refers to 'Space & Time' = I'm looking at that picture, but I'm not there - not in those years, not in that (those) lager(s) . ''Ashen hair only is what I see'': what remains of those human beings (women, men, children) is just ''ashes'' [ as in the line that follows, ''the color of what remains'']. Terrible and splendid in the Moonlight The color of what remains. '' Terrible and splendid in the / Moonlight '': 'terrible' refers to the Holocaust - a crime against Humanity; 'splendid' refers to the 'cloud' (*) in the moonlight. (*) The 'cloud' recalls Celan's line ''Then a grave you will have in the clouds there one / lies unconfined''.. namely, the grave - Death - after such an unspeakable suffering, is kind of comfort: no longer imprisoned in a lager, dying day after day, moment after moment.. The 'Moonlight' is a poetic image, to give the words an halo of 'magic' (Sulamith is now sort of 'spirit of the air') . And I cannot help but Stare at you When I am lying on the rock of my Empty body ''the rock of my / Empty body'', refers to the image of the victims in Nazi's lagers: bodies reduced to skin and bones.. even the survivors were already skeletons [pictures taken by the allied troops, when they entered the lagers]. And let the voice of the waves Cradle My most horrific Dreams. ''the voice of the waves'': we, human beings, are ephemeral creatures in the ocean of Life.. the events of life can easily submerge us.. yet, we let the voice of the waves cradle our conscience.. ''most horrific / Dreams'': what happened in the past can easily repeat itself, since we - human beings - don't learn any lessons.. A last note: Sulamith is Jew, but in my mind ALL human beings who suffer what the Jews had to suffer in Nazi's camps are represented in my poem.

28 0 Reply
Souren Mondal 25 February 2016

Fabrizio, my dear friend. I cannot but admire the wonderful manner in which you have paid tributes to both the millions of innocent victims of the hollocast and such a wonderful poem by a wonderful artist.. You are a true craftsman and a humanist dear.. Keep inspiring us with such wonderful poetry.. It is a sheer privilege that I have acquainted the likes of you, Daniel, and many more such wonderful poets who had been such an influence and guide across my poetic journey.. Thank you pal.. Not only as a friend or poet, but as a human being, I admire you.. Thank you.. Grazie.

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Souren Mondal 24 February 2016

I had read your poem a long time ago and then read Celan too.. I really love the opening imagery as it sets the tone.. I maybe a little wrong but your reference to a poem on holocast probably suggests that speaker is someone who is looking at the debris of the days of his past.. I also feel a little curious about the first three lines - 'Ashen hair only is what I see Looking at your picture from a Distance.' Is it a picture of someone else? ? I have a different view.. Maybe it is the reflection of the speaker himself (or herself) seeing his reflection at the glass protected picture, and there what he sees is 'ashen hair'... I cannot but interpret that as grey hair of a man.. Maybe now he is old. He is looking back at his past days, and all he could see is what has become of him.. The 'distance' is the time spent between the time from when the picture was taken and the present moment when he is looking at the picture. He is then unable to stop staring at it - that picture is like Medusa - the haunting realisation that he had come through ages to have become old - just a 'reflection' of his old self makes him turn to stones almost.. I would think (to suit my interpretation) that the 'voices' are the voices from his earlier days, when he might have boasted about his youth, or maybe they are voices telling him about how he had decayed and is now a remanant of his younger self. The 'most horrific dreams' is perhaps, as is to many a men, the realisation that they have finally turned old.. I don't know if it is death that is impending but maybe just old age.. In Bengali culture we have this four divisions of life, and we consider when someone has gone through the first 3/4 th of their life, the fourth stage is left in the bitter realisation of their impending death, and ruminations about their lives.. This reminded me of that... A haunting poem Fabrizio.. Thanks.

9 0 Reply
Fabrizio Frosini 24 February 2016

thank you so much, dear Souren. Indeed, I like your comment.. And it shows so well my always stated point: a poem doesn't have a single meaning.. it has many.. at least one for each and every reader.. ;) ok.. I'll tell you what my words mean (= what I had in my mind when I wrote this poem)

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