PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine
Most Read... Rebecca WattsThe Cult of the Noble Amateur
(PN Review 239)
Mark FordLetters And So It Goes
Letters from Young Mr Grace
(aka John Ashbery)

(PN Review 239)
Henry Kingon Toby Martinez de las Rivas
(PN Review 244)
Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
Tim Parksin conversation with Natalia Ginzburg
(PN Review 49)
Next Issue Colm Toibin on Thom Gunn's Letters Allice Hiller and Sasha Dugdale in conversation David Herman on the life of Edward W. Said Jena Schmitt on Hope Mirrlees Brian Morton: Now the Trees
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PNR 250 Poetry Archive Banner
PN Review New Issue

This poem is taken from PN Review 256, Volume 47 Number 2, November - December 2020.

Broom, or The Flower of the Desert
from Giacomo Leopardi, Canti, translated by Beverley Bie Brahic
Giacomo Leopardi
And men loved darkness rather than light.
John 3 :19

     Here, on the arid slope
Of that grim mountain
Vesuvius the Destroyer,
Which no other tree or flower cheers,
You scatter your solitary shrubs,
Fragrant broom,
Content with deserts. I’ve also seen
Your clumps brighten the bare outskirts
Of the city
That for a time held mortals in her hand,
And their grave and silent mien
Seems to keep the faith and recall
Her lost empire to all who pass.
Now in this soil I find you again,
Lover of sad places and the lost world,
Faithful companion of ruined fortunes.

Searching, please wait... animated waiting image