March 1, 2019

March — A Poem by Salvatore Di Giacomo

The month of March is named after
Mars, the god of war. Relief from
Villa San Michele, Capri
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
Reprinted from The Bread and the Rose: A trilingual Anthology of Neapolitan Poetry from the 16th Century to the Present, edited by Achille Serrao and Luigi Bonaffini, Legas, 2005 p. 136.


Marzo: nu poco chiove
e n' ato ppoco stracqua:
torna a chiovere, schiove,
ride 'o sole cu ll'acqua.

Mo nu cielo celeste,
mo n'aria cupa e nera:
mo d' 'o vierno 'e tempeste,
mo n'aria e primmavera.

N' auciello freddigliuso
aspetta ch' esce 'o sole:
ncopp' 'o tturreno nfuso
suspireno 'e vviole...

Catarì!... Che buo' cchiù?
Ntiénneme, core mio!
Marzo, tu 'o ssaie, si' tu,
e st'auciello songo io.

March: there's a bit of rain,
just a bit later it stops:
it starts, then it stops again,
the sun laughs with the drops.

A moment of clear azure,
a moment of clouds threatening:
a moment of winter's fury,
a moment of glorious spring.

A shivering bird nearby
waits for the sun to return,
while all of the violets sigh
over the sodden terrain.

Caterina!... Isn't it clear
from what you've already heard?
You know, you are March, my dear, 
and I am that little bird. 

English translation by Michael Palma