wednesday wisdom: the iron road


giovanni pascoli.

April is National Poetry Month, and since we’re all about the words around here, each Wednesday Wisdom will be a celebration of poetry, the forgotten art. Giovanni Pascoli is an Italian poet, and one whose verses I scratched onto notecards and taped to my bathroom mirror: “Il sogno è l’infinita ombra del Vero” (The dream is the infinite shadow of Truth).

The Iron Road

Between embankments, where the cattle graze
in peace, the railroad stretches out in a straight,
dark brown line that glimmers from afar;

in the pearl sky, the telegraph poles create
another line in their aerial plot beside
the tracks, and in shrinking order, disappear.

What sort of rumbling moans and roaring howls
crescendo, then vanish, like a women’s wail?
An immense, resounding harp, from time to time,
these metal lines ring out across the wind.

– Giovanni Pascoli, translated from the Italian by Lawrence Venuti


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