And then We Cowards


And then we cowards

who loved the whispering

evening, the houses,

the paths by the river,

the dirty red lights

of those places, the sweet

soundless sorrow—

we reached our hands out

toward the living chain

in silence, but our heart

startled us with blood,

and no more sweetness then,

no more losing ourselves

on the path by the river—

no longer slaves, we knew

we were alone and alive.



November 23, 1945



Cesare Pavese (Italy, 1908-1950), translated by Geoffrey Brock




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