Salvatore Quasimodo

(1901-1968 / Italy)

Enemy Of Death - Poem by Salvatore Quasimodo

(For Rossana Sironi)

You should not have
ripped out your image
taken from us, from the world,
a portion of beauty.
What can we do
we enemies of death,
bent to your feet of rose,
your breast of violet?
Not a word, not a scrap
of your last day, a No
to earth’s things, a No
to our dull human record.
The sad moon in summer,
the dragging anchor, took
your dreams, hills, trees,
light, waters, darkness,
not dim thoughts but truths,
severed from the mind
that suddenly decided,
time and all future evil.
Now you are shut
behind heavy doors
enemy of death.


Who cries?
You have blown out beauty
with a breath, torn her,
dealt her the death-wound,
without a tear
for her insensate shadow’s
spreading over us.
Destroyed solitude,
and beauty, failed.
You have signalled
into the dark,
inscribed your name in air,
your No
to everything that crowds here
and beyond the wind.
I know what you were
looking for in your new dress.
I understand the unanswered question.
Neither for you nor us, a reply.
Oh, flowers and moss,
Oh, enemy of death.


Comments about Enemy Of Death by Salvatore Quasimodo

  • Fabrizio Frosini (6/14/2015 4:28:00 AM)


    Italian original text

    'Nemica della morte'

    a Rossana Sironi

    Tu non dovevi, o cara,
    strappare la tua immagine dal mondo,
    toglierci una misura di bellezza.
    Nemici della morte, che faremo
    chini ai tuoi piedi rosa,
    sul tuo costato viola?
    Non hai lasciato foglia né parola
    dell'ultimo tuo giorno o un no a ogni cosa
    apparsa sulla terra, un no al monotono
    diario degli uomini. La triste, estiva
    àncora di luna trascinò via
    i tuoi sogni: colline alberi luce,
    notte acque; non confusi
    pensieri, sogni veri
    staccati dalla mente che decise
    improvvisa per te
    il tempo, la viltà futura. Ora
    sei dietro dure porte,
    nemica della morte. - Chi urla, chi urla? -
    Tu hai ucciso in un soffio la bellezza
    l'hai colpita per sempre, l'hai straziata
    senza un lamento per la sua folle
    ombra che stende su noi. Non bastavi,
    bellezza, solitudine disfatta.
    Hai svolto un gesto nel buio, hai scritto
    il tuo nome nell'aria o quel no a tutto
    ciò che brulica qui e di là dal vento.
    So che volevi nella veste nuova,
    so la domanda che ritorna vuota.
    Non c'è per noi, non c'è per te risposta,
    o muschio e fiori, o cara
    nemica della morte.
    (Report) Reply

    10 person liked.
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  • Fabrizio Frosini (6/14/2015 4:07:00 AM)


    ''Enemy of Death''

    For Rossana Sironi



    Dear one, you should not have

    ripped out your image,

    taken from us, from the world,

    a portion of beauty.

    What can we do

    we enemies of death,

    bent to your feet of rose,

    your breast of violet?

    Not a word, not a scrap

    of your last day, a No

    to earth’s things, a No

    to our dull human record.

    The sad moon in summer,

    the dragging anchor, took

    your dreams, hills, trees,

    light, waters, darkness,

    not dim thoughts but truths,

    severed from the mind

    that suddenly decided,

    time and all future evil.

    Now you are shut

    behind heavy doors

    enemy of death.

    Who cries?

    You have blown out beauty

    with a breath, torn her,

    dealt her the death-wound,

    without a tear

    for her insensate shadow’s

    spreading over us.

    Destroyed solitude,

    and beauty, failed.

    You have signalled

    into the dark,

    inscribed your name in air,

    your No

    to everything that crowds here

    and beyond the wind.

    I know what you were

    looking for in your new dress.

    I understand the unanswered question.

    Neither for you nor us, a reply.

    Oh, flowers and moss,

    Oh, enemy of death.
    (Report) Reply

Read all 2 comments »



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Read poems about / on: beauty, solitude, death, evil, future, summer, sad, rose, moon, wind, dark, light, world, tree, water, flower, dream



Poem Submitted: Wednesday, January 22, 2003



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