Mirages

Sumerian Statue, Iraq

[by Alberto Guareschi]

Douz Oasis

(…) and recalling

how distant already is,

in space and time,

that trip to the Tunisian south,

still so limpid and vivid

as if scarcely a few days

were behind us:

the storm over Tozeur,

the darkness suddenly set,

then the morning after

and the following days

a fully crystalline sky,

the air so light –

having skirted the old limes

we had come back

to the thin tongue of land

that crosses Chott-el-Djérid,

slowly driving

and often stopping,

our hands as a glare shield,

to gaze at the shapes of mirages

the salty crystals generated

along the shores –

the sunset over Douz,

the night turned to music

by the desert wind,

the unhoped for thermal gush:

everything conspired

towards insomnia

packed with phantasies,

mirages that would light up in turn

on the lake and then vanish

to revive elsewhere

(something parallel, I felt,

to the unceasing dream about words,

when a mere nothing sufficed

to raise lines evaporating

a few seconds after

into the void)

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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