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This poem is taken from PN Review 161, Volume 31 Number 3, January - February 2005.

Gramsci's Ashes (translated by Michelle Cliff) Pier Paulo Pasolini


It's not like May, this impure air
that darkens the foreign garden
already dark, then blinds it with light

with blinding clarity... this sky
of foam, above the pale yellow eaves
that in enormous semicircles veil

the bends of the Tiber, the deep blue
mountains of Latium... Spilling a mortal
peace, estranged from our destinies,

between the ancient walls, autumnal
May. In this the grey of the world,
the end of the decade in which appears

among ruins the profound, ingenuous
effort to restore life over;
the silence, rotten and barren...

You were young, in that May when the error

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