Translated from the Italian by Amy Newman
Lean your head on my shoulder:
that I’ll caress with a slow gesture
as if my hand were moving
on an invisible length of thread.
Not on your head alone: everywhere
that aches of torment and of fatigue,
my blind caresses descend,
like yellowing leaves in autumn
in a puddle reflecting the sky.
—Milan, 23 April 1929
This evening, a stroll through the streets
where the last houses are thinning out
to make some room for the open sky.
The car proceeds slowly,
swallowing its own light; all around,
many distant lights, scattered and low
like patches of primrose in the meadows.
The moon, a little red,
has a patch of soft vapors
on its mouth,
and looks like a romantic girl,
biting an embroidered handkerchief,
in a fit of violent weeping.
—Milan , 24 May 1929
Maybe that’s not even true
what you sometimes hear screaming in your heart:
that this life is,
inside your being,
and that what you called the light
is a blunder,
the supreme blunder
of your sick eyes—
and that what you pretended to be the goal
is a dream,
the shameful dream
of your own weakness.
Maybe life is really
what you find it in younger days:
an eternal breath searching
from sky to sky
who knows what height.
But we are like the grass in the meadows
that feels the wind pass over it,
and sings everything in the wind
and lives in the wind forever,
yet can’t grow enough
to stop that soaring flight
or leap up from the earth
to drown in it.
—Milan , 31 December 1931
Tall eucalyptus trees along the riverbank
spread out at the base
in a bright gush of poppies—
Dangling leaves crackle
from the heat—
along the deep canals sail—
like the first moon in dark air—
—16 May 1933
You stand against the night
like an ascetic absorbed in prayer.
The clouds come to you
on black crests:
from regions of farthest light
they bring gifts of purple and gold
You sink to your knees in such gifts:
call to the stars to wreathe your nakedness.
beyond the shapeless agony—
—(Breil) Pasturo , 20 August 1933
The copyright for the poems and the photograph of Antonia Pozzi belongs to the Carlo Cattaneo and Giulio Preti International Insubric Center for Philosophy, Epistemology, Cognitive Sciences and the History of Science and Technology of the University of Insubria , depositary and owner of the whole Archive and Library of Antonia Pozzi.