Sergio Corazzini – The Death of Tantalus – La morte di Tantalo

Here is my translation of a beautiful Italian poem written in 1907 by Sergio Corazzini. Poor Corazzini died of tuberculosis (what else?) a few weeks after writing this, at the age of only 21. I know it may be a little unclear what exactly he is going on about, but in that respect I think my translation is quite faithful to the original. I am thinking of adapting this poem into comics at some point, either in English or in the original Italian.

The Death of Tantalus

We sat by the edge
Of the fountain in the vineyard of gold.
We sat in silence, weeping.
My sweet friend’s eyelids
Swelled up behind her tears
Like two sails
In a gentle sea breeze.

Our pain was not the pain of love,
Nor the pain of nostalgia,
Nor the pain of the flesh.
We were dying every day,
Seeking out a divine cause,
My dear sweet one and I.

But the day was already at a close,
And the cause of our death
Had not been found.

And the evening descended over the vineyard of gold,
And it was so dark
That a snowfall of stars
Appeared before our souls.

All night long we feasted
On the wondrous clusters.
We drank the water of gold,
And the dawn found us sitting
By the edge of the fountain
In the vineyard that was no longer of gold.

Oh my sweet love,
Confess to the passerby
That we have not known how to die
By denying ourselves the flavoursome fruit
And the water of gold, like the moon.

And say too that we will never die again,
That we will go through life
Wandering forever.

Sergio_Corazzini

 

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