• Email
  • Print

Two Poems by Eugenio Montale

to C.
I have such faith in you
that it will last
(this is the foolishness I told you once)
until a flash from beyond destroys
the immense waste heap in which we live.
We’ll find ourselves then in I don’t know what place
if it makes sense to say place where there’s no space
discussing certain controversial verses
of the divine poem.

I know beyond the visible and tangible
no life is possible, but the life beyond
may be the other face of death
that we carried locked inside us for years and years.

I have such faith in me
and you rekindled it not meaning to
or knowing, for in every wreck in life down here
there’s a trap door we know nothing of
and maybe it was waiting for us
who were lost and unable
to give it a meaning.

I have such faith that it burns me; surely
he who sees me will say, He’s a man of ashes,
not recognizing this was a rebirth.
(1979)

How the horizon
narrows at a certain point.
Where are the vast aquaria
we wallowed in
like fish in water, with no idea
of hook or line.
Happiness
would be savoring non-existence
while living, unconcerned
with a possible end.
One wise man says (not everyone agrees)
that life down here was totally improbable
with the corollary (I add) that it wasn’t
at all appropriate. Many events
support this interpretation. Little faits divers
contradict it: like the flight
of an ant that has never been studied or even seen
by the entomologists.

(4 September 1976)

  • Email
  • Print