On travels, the observation of heavenly bodies and other

Foto di Luigi Caricato

[di Alberto Guareschi]


(…) and then quite often

ignoring more or less

almost everything – regardless

of where I would travel to –

of the worlds I was about to visit:

if covered with plains, lakes

or with sands, lava chips, brambles.

Hence, before each trip,

feelings half of trepidation

half of impatience

and dread of leaving  behind,

in exchange for unpredictable horizons,

reassuring banks

to move my steps on (anyway,

suspected Mr. Himself, something

– whether the needle of a compass 

or else – would direct

his course towards unknown grounds:

the landing being a certainty

at every new break

of dawn) –

At times recalling the words

by a Greek from Alexandria

dedicated to those

who by ship bound to Ithaca

would avert both Neptune’s wrath

and the ambush by Cyclops

and Laestrygones:

“Nothing alike will come across

if your mind stays  lofty

and if body and soul

will only touch emotions

of pure beauty…”.

By night then, in absence of clouds,

eyes fixed on the sky, 

trying to catch its most shining star

among those always part

of the Little Bear

(the ideal instrument,

he thought, to fly harmless,

with no scratches, over

Scylla and Charybdis) –

Finally, coming back

from one trip and the other

to the buen retiro wherefrom I flew off

without ever really leaving

those banks, each time surprised

that in spite on the seasons

nothing had changed

in the scenery beyond the windows,

as if it would consist,

the patina of time,

just in a few  secretions of snails

with traces running over the sills

(perhaps, he presumed,

the only real trip                             

had been around a point in the sky

called “North Star”

that used to disappear for endless ages

from his gaze and then shine again,

no longer than a blink,

immense in the space

of his eyes)                                                         


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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