Your Quiet Outpost

Salvatore Quasimodo
Translated from the Italian by Julia Older

And here is the sea and the agave already in flowerand along the colorful embankment teeming with lifeare thick beehive tombs built into the cliff walland I look inside at timeless laughing girlswith dark, damp-stained hair. A similar girlflanked your Ionian coast (a bee glistening with honeyshone in her eye), and she leftscarcely a trace of her name in the shadeof olive trees. There’s no one to save you:From the look on your face, you knowthat one day is the same as others.A sudden light transfiguresand closes us in this lonely circleof empty moon—where Hadesrushes past your quiet outpost.

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Salvatore Quasimodo (1901-1968) grew seven poetry books from native Sicilian roots. Throughout the manmade destruction of WWII, poetry became his life-preserver. The 1959 Nobel Prize Committee selected Quasimodo’s collection ED E SUBITO SERA (And Suddenly It Is Night) because it “expresses the tragic life of our time with classical fire.” Although he is a poet of place and personal history, like the ancient Greek classics he translated, his work is deeply human and universal.

Julia Older has worked and lived in France, Italy, Mexico, and Brazil. Her thirty published titles include literary translation (French, Spanish, Italian, written Persian), a historical novel trilogy, and an Appalachian Trail memoir. Four of Older’s eleven poetry collections are booklength. She writes full-time in the foothills of Mount Monadnock, NH.

Mid-American Review

Volume XXXVIII, Number 2

Bowling Green, Ohio

Bowling Green State University

Editor in Chief: Abigail Cloud
Managing Editor: Madeline Grigg
Poetry Editor: Abigail Cloud

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