Fog

Giovanni Pascoli
Translated from the Italian by Geoffrey Brock

Hide what is far from my eyes,pale fog, impalpable grayvapor climbing the light                    of the coming day,after the storm-streaked night,                    the rockfall skies…Hide what has gone, and what goes,hide what lies beyond me…Let me see only that hedge                    at my boundary,and this wall, by whose crumbling edge                    valerian grows.Hide from my eyes what is dead:the world is drunk on tears…Show my two peach trees in bloom,                    my two pears,that spread their sugared balm                    on my black bread.Hide from my eyes lost thingswhose need for my love is a goad...Let me see only the white                    of the stone road –I too will ride it some night                    as a tired bell rings.Hide the far things – hidethem beyond the sweep of my heart...Show only that cypress tree,                    standing apart,and here, lying sleepily,                    this dog at my side.

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Giovanni Pascoli (1855–1912) survived a tragic childhood, including his father’s unsolved murder, to become arguably the most important Italian poet writing at the beginning of the twentieth century. While not considered a modernist, his imagistic focus on piccole cose (small things) and his scaling back of the era’s often overblown rhetoric both contributed enormously to the modernization of Italian poetry.

Geoffrey Brock was born in Atlanta, grew up in Tallahassee FL, and has lived in Italy, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Gainesville FL, Overland Park KS, Dallas, San Francisco, and Tucson. He earned a PhD in comparative literature from the University of Pennsylvania, an MFA in poetry from the University of Florida, and was a Wallace Stegner fellow at Stanford from 2002–2004. Since 2006 he has taught in the Arkansas Programs in Creative Writing & Translation in Fayetteville, where he lives with his wife, the novelist Padma Viswanathan, their two children, and a variable number of animals.

Brock has also received several major awards as a translator, including a Guggenheim Fellowship in support of his 2012 anthology, The FSG Book of 20th-Century Italian Poetry, and a Raiziss/de Palchi Fellowship from the Academy of American Poets in support of his translation of Cesare Pavese’s Disaffections: Complete Poems 1930-1950. The latter went on to receive translation prizes from the MLA and the PEN Center USA and was named a “Best Book of 2003” by The Los Angeles Times. His prose translations include Carlo Collodi’s Pinocchio, Roberto Calasso’s K., and Umberto Eco’s The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana (which received the Lewis Galantière Translation Award from the American Translators Association). He is currently translating the selected poems of Giovanni Pascoli, one of which received the John Frederick Nims Memorial Prize from Poetry magazine.

246

Manchester
England

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