In autumn

Foto di Luigi Caricato

[by Alberto Guareschi]

New letter to Ariel


Many questions,

Ariel dear:  summer evaporated,

days always getting shorter

and cloudy skies,

still uncompleted

the chronicles,

humours with taste of autumn

sneaking  into the plots,

dispensing medicinal powders

on wounds and buds,

whilst moon phases

and weeks go by

in succession (all being

the effect of time:

from the last root fading off

to the breath of the son’s son) –

August much too fast,

flown off on silver birch paths

and mossy clearings,

Delia on my side,

Nàyda intolerant of any lead,

and  not a single line

written  in those days:

solely moved  very timid steps in the dark,

on grounds less familiar

than Polesije and its outskirts,

and regions of the mind

you would consider

sealed  by fogs too thick

to fade away –

A September so rainy

as never before,

specially dropped down

to rack the brain

over the sex of angels,

eager to find shelter

in our homes

and offer sticks of incense

to small terracotta idols

for a ray of sunlight

or the favour of song  (all dumb,

spelled out In an elsewhere                                           

that seemed reachable

by stretching the fingers out –

wondering  what we should better preserve,

if the old, scratched albums,

Li Po’s French editions 

or certain postcards

from around the world) –

Spent some days, in October,

where the sea mourns

Dido abandoned,

and at nightfall, on the wind from the Grand Erg,

all questions still open,

the doubts unresolved:

whether cast away to nettles

the initial project

or keep clinging

to some log in search of a landing,

committing messages

to the Chinese roll, to the streams

(the same bewilderment

as felt in previous times: 

like staying on the brink

of the abyss, straight up

over luxuriant lands)



Alberto Guareschi (Parma, 1940) lives in Lucca since almost forty years. As an executive and then director of some state and private industrial groups he has travelled extensively, not only for professional reasons, in various countries and continents, thus enriching the range of his cultural experiences and interests. In 1976 he was among the founders of Pratiche Editrice, a member of its literary board and CEO. As an author he has published three books of poetry: Verso Cipro (Guanda, 1963), Teatrini del signor Egli (Diabasis, 2004, with an  introduction by Roberto Carifi) and Stella polare (Passigli, 2016) where the poems in this issue are included. Notable his activity as an editor and translator, particularly for Guanda that published in 1989 the first Italian edition of the German classic by J. P. Hebel, Tesoretto dell’Amico di casa renano. Guanda published also his selection of F. Hoelderlin’s poetry, L’arcipelago e altre poesie (1965), the translation of Nietzsche’s Ditirambi di Dioniso (1967) and of Hermann Hesse’s novels Nel chiosco di Pressel (introduction by G. Zampa) and Giorni di luglio (1990). By Tony Duvert he has translated Récidive (foreword by Guido D. Bonino, Pratiche Editrice, 1978) and Quando morì Jonathan (Savelli, 1981). Other poetry translations (from Georges Bataille, Sarah Kirsch and H. M. Enzensberger) appeared in the Eighties on “Il Raccoglitore”, bi-monthly cultural magazine of Gazzetta di Parma, and on “Rassegna Lucchese”. In 2008 Diabasis published, based on his project and edited by A. Niero, Balcony and other poems (with an introductory essay by Iosip Brodskij) of the Russian poet and friend Evgenij Rejn.

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