Il Rosso Melograno Posted by Serena on Jul 10, 2013 in Uncategorized
Last Sunday we went for a day out in the hills between Parma and Piacenza, in Emilia Romagna. While we were wandering around Castell’Arquato, a beautiful medieval town on the outskirts of the Pianura Padana, I noticed that almost every garden had un albero di melograno (a pomegranate tree), covered in bright red flowers. My mind immediately went to a poem by Giosuè Carducci entitled Pianto Antico (Ancient Cry).
Giosuè Carducci was born near Pietrasanta, Lucca, in 1835, and died in Bologna in 1907. In 1906 he received the Nobel Prize for Literature. This poem, written in 1871, is dedicated to his son Dante, who had died from typhus the year before, at the age of three. The title, Pianto Antico, refers to the timeless cry of despair made by every father who has lost his son. In the poem Carducci compares the blossoming pomegranate tree in his garden to himself, whom he likens to a tree that has dried out after the death of his only son, the flower of the tree.
The choice of a pomegranate tree is also a symbolic one. Since ancient times the pomegranate has been used as a symbol of fertility and rebirth amongst Mediterranean cultures. It was frequently used by the Etruscans, whose funerary urns often show the deceased, usually a woman, holding a pomegranate in her hands.
L’albero a cui tendevi
nel muto orto solingo
Tu fior della mia pianta
sei ne la terra fredda,
The tree towards which
in the silent solitary garden
You, flower of my beaten
you are in the cold earth,
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