Friday, August 21, 2015


Umberto Saba

The Shop-Boy With the Wheelbarrow

It's good to recover in ourselves

lost loves, or reconcile ourselves to an affront,

but if life pent up inside weighs you down,

take it out of doors.

Throw open the windows, or go down

into the crowd; you'll see how little it takes

to cheer you up: an animal, a game,

or, dressed in blue,

a shop-boy with a wheelbarrow

clearing the street with a loud voice,

who, if he finds the slightest downward slope,

runs no more, but flies.

The streets are full of people at that hour

who don't keep quiet after dodging him.

The noisier the uproar and the wrath,

the more he swings his hips and sings.


Umberto Saba
translated by George Hochfield & Leonard Nathan
SONGBOOK, the selected poems of Umberto Saba
Yale 2008