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The Italian word primavera has interesting and ancient origins. It’s composed of the two terms: ‘prima‘ (before, or first) and ‘vera‘, which has its roots in the sanscrit word vas-, meaning ‘ardere‘ (to burn) or ‘splendere‘ (to shine), and by extension also ‘l’estate‘ (the summer). ‘Prima-vera‘ therefore is ‘la stagione prima dell’estate‘ (the season before the summer).
Here’s a poem by Ada Negri (3 February 1870 – 11 January 1945) that’s just perfect for la primavera.
Sbocciano al tenue sole
di marzo ed al tepor de’ primi venti,
folte, a mazzi, più larghe e più ridenti
de le viole.
Pei campi e su le rive,
a piè de’ tronchi, ovunque, aprono a bere
aria e luce anelando di piacere, le bocche vive.
E son tutti esultanza
per esse i colli; ed io le colgo a piene
mani, mentre mi cantan per le vene
sangue e speranza.
They blossom to the pale sun
of March and the warmth of the first winds,
dense, in bunches, broader and cheerier
than the violets.
In the meadows and on the river banks,
at the foot of trees, everywhere, open their bright mouths
to drink air and light, yearning for pleasure.
And the hills are rejoicing
in them; and I gather them by the handful,
as blood and hope
sing in my veins.
You can find out more about Ada Negri, and read another of her poems in Serena’s blog Piove di Ada Negri