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This poem is taken from PN Review 4, Volume 4 Number 4, July - September 1978.

Fifteen Poems translated by Jonathon Galassi Eugenio Montale

from Diario del '71

THE DIVER

The diver seen in slow motion
describes a spider-shaped arabesque
and in that figure perhaps his life
identifies itself. He who stands on the board
is still dead, dead is he who swims
back to the ladder after the dive,
dead he who takes his picture, never born
he who applauds the venture.
                             And is the space alive
in which each moving thing lives?
Mercy on the pupils and on the objective,
mercy on all that displays itself,
mercy on the leaving and on him who arrives,
mercy on him who returns or has returned,
...


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