First Night of Spring


Something dies, something is born

the moment a rumble of thunder splits open

the upper reaches of the night, sudden

announcement of spring, rupturing sleep…


Generations on generations

of men, some defeated, some lifted

by their savage miseries,

ages thick with pain, one into the next,

onto one suffering, one single point,

bearing down, massing together, moaning

and creaking from pier to pier, the bridge

darkening toward the last span,

the tree at its limit, from root to fruit.


My hand is on the stitch of pain, I’m listening.

First night of spring, swelling

and lacerating, between becoming and being.



Mario Luzi (1914-2005) from “Dal fondo delle campagne” (1955-1961), in Tutte le poesie, Milano, Garzanti, Milano, 1988

Translation by Nick Benson


Image cover, from Contemporary Architecture in Venice by R. Codello, publisher Marsilio and Fondazione Venezia (ISBN 9788831720533): Torrei di Porta Nuova (Arsenale), Francesco Magnani and Traudy Pelzel

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