Tuesday, 27 July 2010

A Dedication To The Sea (A translation of one of Raimondo Selenu's poems along with the Italian original)

A Dedication To The Sea
by Raimondo Selenu

I sit silently beside you
between the memories
of an old sailing boat
and the future hopes
of a speedy motorboat.

I feel
like a small child
who listens attentively
to what it is you have to say.

Your way of speaking impresses me.

I am the sand that loves the waves
and lives in the immensity of your breath,
listening to the song
of the reef.

Alongside you I appear so small
amongst the pebbles
smooth with age
and shells
that dwell within you.

I curl myself up like a small child
finding nourishment
in fairy tales and adventure stories.

I adore your way of speaking.

© Raimondo Selenu (Trans. from the Italian by Geoff Davis)

And this is the Italian original:-

      Dedicato Al Mare

Mi siedo silenzioso accanto a te,
                 tra i ricordi
  di una vecchia barca a vela
             e le speranze
     di un motore fuoribordo.

                Mi sento
     come un piccolo bambino,
                che ascolta
          ciĆ² che hai da dire.

Mi impressiona il tuo modo di parlare.

     Sono sabbia che ama le tue onde
        e vive nell'immenso tuo respiro
            nell'ascolto del tuo canto
                   alla scogliera.

     Mi faccio piccolino accanto a te
                      tra i sassi
               levigati dai tuoi anni
                      e conchiglie
                 che abitano in te.

Mi accuccio come un piccolo bambino
                     per nutrirmi
             di fiabe e di avventure.

        Adoro il tuo modo di parlare.

© Raimondo Selenu

You can read more of my translations of Raimondo's poems here

Thursday, 22 July 2010


So here I am in Nuoro,
this untidy mess of a town
which is nonetheless endearing.
"Il comune non fa niente!"*
is what I keep on hearing.
Sun scorched scruffy weeds
and dirt and litter adorn
the uneven pavement
while some have sought
to see to feline needs
with a plate or two of fish-heads
left out for the strays;
the buildings blighted by graffiti,
beautiful and ugly in equal measure
and cars parked curiously
at strange angles from the kerb.
And then the gems, the treasure:
the stunning vista of the mountains
from Via Aspromonte
and the valley between Mt Ortobene
and the edge of town;
how Via Corso Garibaldi
comes to life on summer evenings,
the bars packed and thriving,
the Nuorese of every generation
walking up and down
with youth, beautiful and tanned,
showing its propensity
for elegance and style;
the museums displaying
the cultural heritage of a town
that gave us Nobel Prize winning writer
Grazia Deledda and poet Sebastiano Satta
and artists and sculptors
whose charming works beguile.
Nuoro is like a woman
whose potential beauty sometimes delights,
occasionally astounds and also frustrates
wrapped up in the frumpy clothing
of habit and convenience
that draw attention to
the lines upon her face
but seldom have I known
people of such warmth and generosity
inhabit any other place.

Geoff Davis © 2010

* The council do nothing!

View from Via Aspromonte

Dear Father (After Your Passing On March 5th 2003)

Despite my grief, bereavement and my pain,
And how your passing left me so distressed,
Perhaps in passing when you did, dear father,
You were blessed.

And although I miss your ego-less humility,
Now you’ve shuffled off this mortal coil,
You never witnessed the killing that had no connection
With oil.

You were spared the horrors on the TV screen,
The splintered skull with brains poured out
And Iraqi children discovering there were limbs
They were without.

You were too sensitive, too kind for such a time,
Your keen intelligence never drove you where
Your ambition and "integrity" almost forced you
Not to care.

And driven are those men who authorised
The use of force to deal with Iraq
Who dared to trade its oil in Euros. "Impertinent!

"Weapons of mass destruction." " Sexed up dossiers!"
You never used such hyperbolic terms.
You lived for painting and the garden that you shared
With worms.

And now another man of simple dignity, like you,
A scientist almost thirty years your junior, has died
Because we do not value the sacrifice of vanity
And pride.

Nearly forty years ago, dear father, you wrote a play
In which there were no actors playing any dark games.
We children then, perhaps, were sheltered from their cruelties
And aims.

No more.

 Geoff Davis © 2003