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Sanguinoso esce della trista selva. (Purgatorio, IIV, 64)

Training Unit: Winter

Intense clouds ache above the estuary,
Angles of bitter reflected light,
A knife of liquid lightning lies on the sea,
Cold acids etch the air and burn the sight.

Ice clamps the soil solider on its rocks,
In seven planes the vista receded,
With mineral violence reaches away, strikes
Surfaces off the eye: the brain bleeds.

Set for whose plan or pleasure, scenery
Of the heart’s year-long desert? But
Of what cold hatred this machinery
Of vision gripped like a vice at the throat?

Granite and water are tons in the heart
And the war is heavy and the winter’s unfree
Fists of Will. With numbing hurt
Hypnotic gales freeze the mind’s sea,

Where the joy is long since lost, swept on that tide
Down years of time and half a world of space . . .
Yet waking in the morning, by my side
I almost see her face.


At the Time

Two years ago the permanent life of dew
In gardens in early morning, a cool delight
Translucent timeless pleasure
On the island of continuous love.

Sweet isolation in a double tremor
When the outer peace too trembled on an island,
Then lack of trust in
Both chanceries and kisses.

Today I only want to remember the kisses,
Alone with the poisons of winter and Europe
Remember the inextinguishable stars
And the comforting flowers.

The flesh a fountain of transparent flame,
A revelation and an absolute:
O dark hair and soft mouth
Remain with me forever.

But they did not remain. The whole dream seized up solid.
The lines of perspective became parallel.
Everything went away
And the pain stayed.

Yet today I only want to remember the time
When time existed under all the surfaces
Before truth became memory:
The flower that really shone.

How she came closer, completely nearer
Than anyone, ever, visible in darkness,
In some absolute centre
Of complete illumined joy . . .

Meanwhile I wish her everything and only keep her
Sweet and soft in her blinding lightning
As the image in my heart
That lets life loose.

For I do not know how I can pierce without her
The absolute iron of this war, our frightful years.
So ask that image now to be
Always, always, by my side.
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