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This poem is taken from PN Review 180, Volume 34 Number 4, March - April 2008.

Mottetti (translated by Henry Reed) Eugenio Montale


[1] [Lo sai: debbo riperderti e non posso ]

You know: I must lose you again and I cannot.
Like the pointed sights of a gun I am shaken
by every task, every cry and even by the
salt breath flowing over
the breakwaters and making the dark spring
of Sottoripa.

A land of ironwork and rigging
like a wood in the dust of evening
a long buzzing comes from the open, and scratches
like a finger-nail at the windows. I look for the lost
sign, the single pledge I had in favour
from you.
             And hell is certain.


[2] [Molti anni, e uno piĆ¹ duro sopra il lago ]

Many years, and a harder one over
the foreign lake, sunsets burning on it.
...


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