This is a poem by Mariangela Gualtieri that circulated widely in the social networks (and in print) in the past few days in Italy –in its simplicity it seems to have struck a collective chord – spoke how deeply the desire for change moves both though apocalyptic imagery and a longing for deep renewal. Here is a translation into English.
(courtesy of Stephen Aizenstat)
This I meant to say
that we had to stop.
We knew it. We all felt it
that it was too furious
our doing. Our being with things.
All of us outwards.
Agitating every hour – to make it yield.
We had to stop
and we could not.
Should have done it together.
Slowing the race.
But we could not.
No human effort
could make us do it.
And since this
was a common unspoken desire
like an unconscious will
perhaps our specie has obeyed
and loosened the chains
that bind our seed. Opened
The most secret cracks
Perhaps this is why there was a leap
From one specie to another – from the bat
To us. Something in us wanted to give way.
Perhaps. I do not know.
Now we stay home.
What is happening is uncanny.
and there is gold, I believe, in this strange time.
There may be gifts.
Golden nudgets for us. If we help each other.
There is a strong call
of the specie now and as a specie now
we ought to think of ourselves. A common destiny
binds us here. We knew it. But not so well.
Either all or none.
The Earth is powerful. Alive, for real.
I feel her thinking with a thought
that we ignore.
What about our present plight? Let us consider
whether she might be the one moving things.
And whether the law that governs
the whole universe, and even what happens now,
might not be a full expression of that law
that rules us also – like any star – like any cosmic particle.
What if the dark matter was this,
this sort of holding together of all things
in an ardour of life, with death the sweeper coming
to rebalance each specie, in order
to keep it within its own measure, its proper place,
Guided. We have not made the sky.
A powerful wordless voice
tells us now to stay home, like children
who have really blown it, without knowing why
and will not have kisses, no hugs.
Each now forced to restrain,
bringing us back, perhaps, to the slowness
Of the old foremothers.
To look at the sky more often,
To paint a corpse with ocre. To bake bread
well. To look at a countenance carefully.
To sing slowly in order to lull a child to sleep.
For the first time to hold another’s hand,
To feel with force the connection.
As one organism. We bear the whole specie
Within. Within we save it.
And to that shaking
Of a palm with someone else’s palm,
To that simple act that is now to us forbidden
we shall return, I think, with wider understanding
We shall be here with greater care. More delicate
our hand will be within the making of our lives.
Now that we know how sad it is
to stay a meter apart.