27 December 2007

Valerio Magrelli

[from New Italian Poets edited by Dana Gioia and Michael Palma, 1991; Valerio Magrelli's untitled poem translated by Dana Gioia]

Ten poems written in one month
is not much even if this one
will become the eleventh.
Not even the subjects differ greatly
rather there is a single subject
whose subject is the subject, just like now.
This is to say how much
stays off the page,
knocks but cannot enter
nor even has to. Writing
is not a mirror, rather
the rough-surfaced glass of a shower
on which the body falls to pieces
and only its shadow shows through
indistinct but real.
And the one who washes reveals nothing
but his own gestures.
Therefore what purpose is there
in looking beyond the watermark
in case I am a counterfeiter
and the watermark alone is my work?

New Italian Poets

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