Tuesday, January 20, 2015

'E adesso sul finire del round' by Mario Luzi trans. Nicholas Benson

And now at the end of the round,
he leans on the ropes,
he goes down hard,
he, the giant, first 
precisely assailed on each flank,
his face mashed, pummeled in all his flesh:
and now here it is, leaping to action,
shuddering from its own 
sudden transformation,
the arena resounds: fixes
a single, terrible 
pupil upon him, holds him there,
the evil eye, 
to the matt,
down for the count,
without mercy counted down.
                                             And the other,
still caged, guard position relaxed,
yet chained in the mail
of battle, curtailed — while the forcefield 
of undiminished energy vibrates
all around him — and there
left alone
suspended over the black abyss,
on the verge of plunging 
into the dark trench
of sweat and spit, into the churning fire
of violence unexpressed...

he’s done. Each of them are.
Born of struggle,
struck down at its end: cruelly, at once. 

(from “Per il battesimo dei nostri frammenti” (1978-1984), in Tutte le poesie, Milano: Garzanti, 1988. pp. 516-517)

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