poemof the moment
I look back over eternity, and the dead seasons, and this season here with its life, and the sound of life.
about the poem
This is ‘worldwide Italian language week’, so we thought at least a translation from Italian would be appropriate, and this is a beautiful translation by Edwin Morgan of one of Giacomo Leopardi’s most famous poems. Written around 1819, it arises from Leopardi’s yearning to escape from his native town, and his recognition that through the imagination, escape is possible.
poem chosen by…
Italian poetry has drawn gifted poet-translators from the age of Dante to our own, and besides the 19th-century Leopardi, Morgan also translated modern Italians such as Montale and Quasimodo. If you’re curious about contemporary Italian poetry, Jamie McKendrick’s anthology is a good place to start – it’s in our collection.
Leopardi was born into an aristocratic family in the little town of Recanati in the Marche region of Italy. Adam Kirsch, reviewing a translation of Leopardi’s Zibaldone (a huge prose compilation of thoughts on many subjects), stated: ‘If, as a poet, Leopardi is a master, occupying a rank in Italian literature similar to that of Keats in English literature, then as a thinker he is only a little less powerful; he belongs in the history of thought as a follower of Rousseau and a forerunner of Nietzsche.’