Friday, February 19, 2016
to post this poem for the past two years, but haven't simply because I've never posted anything in its entirety written by someone else. I realize how some might think that's stupid. I know I've thought that. But when something keeps tugging at you, there's a validity that you might know nothing of or how to interpret that. Perhaps all we keep doing is shedding dead skin, making corrections, hedging our bets, covering bases? All I do know is that this poem has gotten under my skin. And now, perhaps, under yours.
Nor Ulysses, nor any craftier man,
At the sight of your O so godly face,
So full of honor & respect & grace,
Could have predicted what a wreck I am.
Love, your eyes drove through me like a blade,
Piercing my startled heart in one fell deed,
And there you settle down, there you feed,
But you alone can heal the wound you made.
How cruel a thing is fate, how inhumane!
Here I am, recovering from a scorpion's bite,
Asking its venom to make me well again.
Love, rid me of everything I sorely dread,
But don't erase that ache I so desire:
Without this lack, I might as well be dead."
(Translated from the Italian
by Richard Sieburth)
Greenwich Village, 2016