Tuesday, June 3, 2014


Two hours ago I fell in love

and trembled, one tremble still,

and haven't a clue whom I should tell.

(translated by Mark Strand)

Don't count on my imagination, no,

don't count on that, I won't preserve you,

won't put you on the shelf till winter,

I'll open you now and swallow you whole. 

(trans. Geoffrey Brock)

Just hearing a verb

that sounds true to me

I feel my blood spurting

towards salvation. Like coming home

and finding the merciful fresh sheet.

(trans. David Shapro & Gini Alhadeff)

Oh really, she's with somebody?

So she's with somebody.

Is she really with somebody?

I guess she's with somebody.

So she is actually with somebody?

Well then, she is, she's with somebody,

so you're saying she's with somebody?

Okay, then, she's with somebody.

(trans. Mark Strand & Gini Alhadeff)

Here I am, I do my bit,

though I don't know what that may be.

If I did I could at least let go of it

and free of it be free of being me.

(trans. Gini Alhadeff)

Lame pigeon. Ridiculous

lame crooked pigeon.

When they have defects animals

suddenly resemble humans.

(trans. Gini Alhadeff)

How sweet it was yesterday imagining I was a tree!

I had almost rooted in one place

and grew in sovereign slowness there.

I took the breeze and the north wind,

caresses, blows — what difference did it make?

I was neither joy nor torment to myself,

I couldn't detach myself from my own center,

no decisions, no movement:

if I moved it was because of the wind.

(trans. Jonathan Galassi)

It's all so simple, yes, it was so simple,

it is so clear I almost can't believe it.

Here's what the body is for: you touch me or you don't touch me,

you hold me or send me away. The rest is for lunatics.

(trans. Gini Alhadeff)

Cavalli was born 1947 in Todi Umbria and resides today in Rome. 
She has published six collections of poems. 


Patrizia Cavalli
My Poems Won't Change the World
(Farrar 2013)