The Chimera


I do not know if your pale face appeared

to me among the rocks, or you were the smile

form unknown distance, the sloping

ivory brow’s gleam, or the young

Sister of La Gioconda.

O out of vanisehd

spring are those mythical pallors,

O Queen, O adolescent Queen,

yet in your unknown poem

of pleasure and pain,

bloodless girl of music,

you are scored with a line of blood,

in an arc of sinuos lips,

Queen of melodies;

but for that inclined virginal

head, I, the nocturnal poet

watch the vivid stars in the ocean of heaven,

for your sweet mystery,

for your deepening silence.

I do not know if the pale flame

of your hair was the living

sign of your pallor,

I do not know if it was a sweet vapour,

sweet across my sorrow,

smile of a nocturnal face;

I gaze at the white rocks the mute source of the breeze,

and the immobility of the firmament,

and the swollen streams that flow weeping,

and the shadow of human labour curved beyond icy hills

and still through tender, distant skies clear flowing shadows

and still I call you I call you Chimera.


Dino Campana (1885-1932), Canti Orfici, Marradi, Tipografia F. Ravagli, 1914


Cover: Daniel Buren at Galleria Continua (Les Moulins, France), ph. Diana Marrone

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