A poem by Mario Luzi (1914-2005) translated by Anne Greeott. 

The autumn sharpens the mountains, the wind
whets the old stones, smoke
pours in billows from the wood oven
between the houses and the slums.
In the light through the windows of this inn
I watch someone whose passing name
hardly makes a mark. The morning flows,
invades the cavern bit by bit. The innkeeper
counts, writes Thursday on the marble slab,
the woman pokes at the fire, glances
toward the door when a customer comes.

I follow the shifting light, the wind;
I wait here for whoever will come
to hurry or to linger on these benches.
Nobody but the poacher can be out
wandering in this bitter land
where the wild hares flare in the field,
or the peddler, if anyone it’s him
pushing through this far to the fairs
and the markets of the nearby towns.
There’s nobody else to wait for. The ones
who come trade news, rest awhile,
then leave out into the storm, gone.

What stays is the sound of dishes;
I look out at the bushes and beyond
where the only shadows come from sheep,
I stand between past and future
as long as I should, or as long as my heart can bear.



from To Tell the Truth (1954)


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