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I Gigli Posted by on Jun 16, 2014 in Uncategorized

People often ask us where we get our ideas for blogs. Well, the source of inspiration for a good many of them is the view from our dining room windows, a view that mutates continually: with the season, the weather, the time of day, and depending on what happens to be going on in our little front garden, which can be anything from the headless rat that the cats have proudly brought home to show us to the beautiful lilies that are in flower at the moment.

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Photo Copyright Geoff Chamberlain 2014

“Serena, do you know any nice poems about lilies?” I asked. “Hmmm fammi pensare un attimino … sì, eccone una”:

I Gigli di Giovanni Pascoli (1891)

Nel mio villaggio, dietro la Madonna
dell’acqua, presso a molti pii bisbigli,
sorgono sopra l’esile colonna
verde i miei gigli:

miei, ché a deporne i tuberi in quel canto
del suo giardino fu mia madre mesta.
D’altri è il giardino: di mia madre (è tanto!…)
nulla piú resta.

Sono tanti anni!… Ma quei gigli ogni anno
escono ancora a biancheggiar tra folti
cesti d’ortica; ed ora… ora saranno
forse già còlti.

Forse già sono su l’altar, lì presso,
a chieder acqua, or ch’è mietuto il grano,
per il granturco: e nel pregar sommesso
meridïano,

guardando i gigli, alcuna ebbe un fugace
ricordo; e chiede che Maria mi porti
nella mia casa, per morirvi in pace
presso i miei morti.

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Photo Copyright Geoff Chamberlain 2014

Our English Translation:

The Lilies by Giovanni Pascoli (1891)

In my village, behind the Madonna
of the water, place of many pious whispers,
above the thin green column
my lilies rise:

mine, because it was my melancholy mother
who planted the tubers in this corner of her garden.
The garden is now somebody else’s: of my mother (it’s a long time now!… *)
nothing more is left.

It was many years ago!… But every year those lilies
still come out shining white amongst thick
baskets of stinging nettles; and now … now they will have
already been picked, maybe.

Maybe they are already on the altar, nearby,
asking for water, now that the wheat has been harvested,
for the maize: and in the soft midday
prayer,

looking at the lilies, a woman has a fleeting
memory; and asks that Maria will bring me
to my house, to die there peacefully
next to my dead ones.

*N.B. this is our personal interpretation of (è tanto!…)

Here are two other posts with poems by Giovanni Pascoli: X Agosto and Valentino

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