Until I stumbled into this odd little side gig of translating Italian poetry, my idea of poetry didn’t go much further than, “Roses are red…” etc., etc. Occasionally, I read and reread and tried to understand some of the poetry published in The New Yorker, but first of all, it didn’t rhyme, so that threw me off; then, on many occasions, even after a third or fourth read, I was still asking: “Say what?” I must have snoozed through the poetry segment in English class because all this free flowing thought was news to me. And now, I was being asked to translate it. Fortunately, for me, the poet was none other than Luciano Somma, Italy’s preeminent poet.
It’s been more than 20 years since my first collaboration with Luciano Somma.His sensitivity to the past and optimism for the future made it a pleasure to translate his work. His poems bridge a lifetime in Naples, from World War II to the millennium. Whether it is the young boy taking refuge from American bombs, the son speaking to a father long since departed to seek fortune in America, a flight of gulls, or the sunrise of the twenty-first century, Somma paints his poems with multi-hued emotions that range from the shadow of despair to joy’s luminosity. As English translator, I provided a fresh canvas to exhibit his words.
Per il primo gennaio, vorrei offrire la poema PRIMO GENNAIO scritto da Luciano Somma. Come tutte delle sue poesie, sentiamo lo spirito sentimentale d’un poeta molto noto in Italia. Si può trovare Luciano qui:
You can find Luciano Somma at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbxwlMV-LCw
giclee prints of “DANCING ON MOONBEAMS” from greeting card size to poster size, tote bags, iphone cases, pillows, mugs, etc.,can be purchased at: https://fineartamerica.com/featured/2-dancing-on-moonbeams-pamela-allegretto.html
PRIMO GENNAIO JANUARY 1st
Ancora stordita Still dazed
da tanto frastuono from so much racket
la notte sbadiglia the night yawns
perchè è già domani. as it’s already tomorrow.
Avrà il volto nuovo Will it have a new face
quest’alba che spunta this sunrise that awakens
neonata speranza newborn hope
d’un anno sereno? for a peaceful year?
Laggiù all’orizzonte There on the horizon
Io vedo una luce I see a light
più intensa e più chiara powerful and radiant
sarà forse inganno? Will it be a fraud?
Soltanto chimera? Only illusion?
Oppure aria pura If not, this greeting
è questo l’augurio is a pure manifestation
per tutti quaggiù for everyone on earth
Vogliamoci bene to love each other
la vita è una sola life is unique
teniamola cara we hold it dear
vivendo in amore living in love
Con tutte le razze with all races
da veri fratelli from true brothers
sarà un’utopia? will it be utopia?
Può darsi, chissà! It’s possible, I wonder!
Luciano Somma Luciano Somma
(Traduzione) Pamela Allegretto