Giuseppe Ungaretti: Mattina / Morning

parallel texts: words reflected

Neither lit nor struck, alight or enlightened, illuminated or illumined, but perhaps any of these things because, as Giuseppe Ungaretti himself stated: “Poetry is poetry when it carries within it a secret.”

Mattina

M’illumino

d’immenso.

Giuseppe Ungaretti Santa Maria La Longa il 26 gennaio 1917

Morning

I’m illumined

with immensity.

Giuseppe Ungaretti Santa Maria La Longa, January 26, 1917

Translation ©Matilda Colarossi 2021

How long does it take to translate four words? And how long does it take when those four words are whispered by a whole nation, the young and the old, at the sight of the rising sun? And how long does it take when the words are “inebriating expansions of the soul” (G. De Robertis)? Who can say?

In my case, it took a very long time.

I have known the words of the poem Mattina since I first read them in university in Canada over forty…

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