Guest poem sent in by "murt"
(Mariano, Italy, 15 July 1916) Note: Translated by Patrick Creagh Ungaretti, in the trenches during WW1, grasps the very core of humanity and communication. With this typically short, yet always diversely translatable poem, he transcends the horror of the trenches and reaches out, letting the spoken word carry his mixture of anxiety, isolation and hope, through darkness and hell, searching for signs of life, embodying to me at least, the very central theme, always present in human consciousness and fickle presence on this planet, we call earth. His symbolism seems to me so genial, I cannot dissect it or describe it closer. It just grips me and I wanted to share it with you....brothers and sisters.....:-} Regards from tetriano, Denmark [Martin adds] The collection at http://www.worldwar1.com/sfip1.htm has an another translation of the poem, with the two lines near the end of the man present at his brittleness I love the use of "present at", but it has a 'deliberately poetic' ring that "face to face with" does not - I have to wonder which one carries the flavour of the original better. Also, Creagh has "man" where the other translation has "the man" - a possibly significant difference that reminds me once again how non-trivial the work of translating a poem is. [Biography] Giuseppe Ungaretti, 1888-1970 A literary minimalist, Giuseepe Ungaretti is considered by some critics the greatest Italian poet of the 20th Century. He served an infantryman on the lower Isonzo front with the 3rd Army from 1915 until early 1918. In the spring, he was transferred to the Western Front where Italian forces fought with distinction. In his most famous war poem, RIVERS, he alludes to his birth in Egypt, his youth in Tuscany and his service on both fronts during the Great War. Ungaretti's pure style was achieved by condensation to essentials and is in the tradition of the French Symbolists. His works are collected in the 2 volumes of LIFE OF A MAN portions of which are available in English translation. -- http://www.worldwar1.com/sfip1.htm