Thursday, December 13, 2012

Umberto Saba (1883-1957)

Winter Noon

(In quel momento ch’ero già felice)

At that moment when I was still happy

(God forgive that vast and terrible

word) what almost changed my joy

to tears? You’ll say: ‘Some

lovely creature passing by

who smiled at you’. No, a balloon,

a turquoise balloon, drifting

through the blue sky, with the native

air never so bright in the cold

clear noon of a winter’s day.

The sky with a little white cloud,

and the windows alight in the sun,

and meagre smoke from a chimney or two,

and above those things, divine

things, the sphere that escaped a child’s

incautious hand (surely he wept,

in the midst of the crowd, out of grief,

his terrible grief) between the Stock

Exchange and the Coffee House, where

I sat, clear-eyed, admiring his prize,

beyond the glass, now rising, and now falling.

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