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Osteria by the Sea

by Umberto Piersanti

translated from the Italian by M. F. Rusnak

that osteria, mother,
on which street was it hidden
down there by the sea?
mother, young mother,
it was on our vacation,
maybe the only one,
we did not take trips back then,
the fischioni covered with red
tomatoes and fresh green leaves
you would never find a dish
so perfect again
and blue all around 
encircling us,
light making us drunk
on the bench

I went down to the coast
I searched for her
but time alters
streets and houses,
it changed even the air

the air back then
so different
I sailed through it
holding tight your hand,
your light dress shining
against Ardizio
green as the valley
where the people
of my blood worked

those days
I carry them inside me,
and they make me walk
more easily


Umberto Piersanti, born in Urbino in 1941, is one of the Italy’s most acclaimed and widely read poets.  His new collection, L’albero delle nebbie, was recently published by Einaudi.  He describes himself as “incapable of existing anywhere except in myths, in nature, and in the past.” Critics see on Piersanti's page the touch of Giovanni Pascoli and traces of another lyric poet from the Marches, the great Giacomo Leopardi.

M. F. Rusnak worked together with Umberto Piersanti in editing and translating selections from I luoghi persi and Nel tempo che precede.  He lives between Princeton, New Jersey, and Florence, Italy. (8/2008)

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