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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.
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