It is not like other bridges,
Which hold up to the snowfall of centuries
For herds to go by water and pasture
Or for people to pass in celebration from place to place. This is a different bridge,
It enjoys your stopping halfway
And scanning the depths and asking yourself if
It intends to be alive the next day.
It is deaf but alive
And never has peace,
Perhaps because from the hollow of its pillar
Slowly filters a poison
An old evil that I won’t describe;
Or perhaps, as was told at waking,
Because it is the result of a wicked pact.
Thus here you will never see the current
Peacefully mirroring its span,
But only rippling waves and swirls.
Thus it files itself in sand,
And stone creaks against stone,
And it presses presses presses against the banks
To split the earth’s crust.
Primo Levi (Italy, 1919 – 1987), translated and read at Casa delle Parole (Venice)
Cover: Anton Alvarez at #mdw2019