Bridge to Global Literature

Let’s all remember that more and more poetry gets lost without earnest attempts at translation.Read poetry here to get a glimpse of the rhythms and resonances of languages you don’t know.

The Lindens’ Perfume— Luigi Cannillo

Aug 14, 2023 | Poetry | 0 comments


The lindens' perfume

Image Used For Representation



The lindens’ perfume from the courtyard
wafts through the curtains once more
On the last schooldays
the roar in our blood, the wait
beat the end, we part
while light frees us for elsewhere
Now close your book with a thump
the gate will open for good
you’ll see the sun’s meridian
push forward an unending summer
in the deserted shadeless district
As if losing each other forever
It will be the linden that blows on the eyelids
on the first nights when desire bites
and dream expands beyond the atlas
Save its flowers for winter
when the classrooms walls
hold people and dreams tight together
solace for the separations
As if we knew of the return


Till one morning
in accelerated blast
each branch yielding, light shines
in the classroom the last satchel clicks
while summer suddenly breaks free
In the empty corridors the winter voices
settle sealed and silent
Only one has remained
hands dirty with chalk
a whole blackboard to erase
On the slate wall he draws
an adventure, tells of a time
extending between the others’ lives
It’s the hour of the running start for all
except for one unscathed by the sun
who lives of shadow, in a naked tree
a hermit hearing from the silence
of the stairs someone calling
There is no one left, teacher, keep writing


I remain in the bow, the blue ribbon
moved by an unknown draft
in the void glaring between doors
I always change path on my way back
My nature is to take the backstairs, settling
to sleep on the narrow step
Should I ever belong to these classes
I’ll spend my time watching outside
the pigeons walking round on the roof tiles,
waiting for someone to knock at the door
and for the shadow announcing him
till the moment of leaving
I remain the blow on the uniform,
the one who parts and runs away first
You won’t have me at the recreation
I’ll climb up the tallest
tree in the garden

From Between Windows and Skies- Selected poems 1985-2020
(Gradiva, 2022)

Also, read Forgetting is Not Really a Decision by Jaishree Roy, translated from the Hindi by Rituparna Mukherjee and published in the Antonym:

Forgetting is Not Really a Decision— Jaishree Roy

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Luigi Cannillo

Luigi Cannillo

Luigi Cannillo, poet, essayst, editor and translator, was born and lives in Milano. Among his latest poetry works, he published: Sesto senso (Campanotto, Udine,1999), Cielo Privato (Joker, 2005),  Cieli di Roma( LietoColle, 2006), Galleria del vento (La Vita Felice, 2014) and Between Windows and Skies – Selected Poems 1985-2020 (Gradiva, 2020). Single poems, anthological groups of poems and critical essays were published in several reviews, collections of essays and literary blogs. He collaborated with the Editorial Board of the Annuario Crocetti 2000 and of Sotto la Superficie – Letture di poeti italiani contemporanei (Bocca, 2004). He edited, with G. Fantato, La biblioteca delle voci – Interviste a 25 poeti italiani (Joker, 2006). He also edited the anthology Il corpo segreto – Corpo ed Eros nella poesia maschile (LietoColle, 2008), and, with S. Aglieco and N. Iacovella, Passione Poesia – Letture di poesia contemporanea (1990-2015) (CFR, 2016). He is a cultural organizer, editorial consultant, member of the cultural association Milanocosa; he was editor and co-director of the review La Mosca di Milano and editor of the collection Sguardi of the publishing house La Vita Felice (Milan). He is a contributor to the international review Gradiva, New York/Firenze. He took part to performances and theater events and works with visual artists and musicians. 


Paolo Belluso

Paolo Belluso

Paolo Belluso lives in Rome. He works as interpreter, translator, coordinator of international artistic and cultural events. He translated Cannillo’s verses in Gradiva, International Journal of Italian Poetry (Number 50, Fall 2016), and in Between Windows and Skies – Selected Poems 1985-2020, (Gradiva, 2020). 



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