Italian Language Blog

La neve che mai si accumula – The snow that never drifts Posted by on Dec 10, 2021 in Italian Language, Literature

Ciao a tutti! 

Although the winter solstice isn’t until December 21, the weather may have us thinking differently lately. As the season is right around the corner, I wanted to share a poem in both Italian and English – La neve che mai si accumula (The snow that never drifts) – Emily Dickinson.

Tra le più grandi poetesse liriche americane troviamo Emily Dickinson. Fine osservatrice, capace di cogliere dettagli minuti, amava moltissimo il mondo della natura, dal quale spesso derivò temi, motivi, immagini per i suoi componimenti in versi.

Among the greatest American lyric poets we find Emily Dickinson. She was a fine observer, capable of grasping minute details, she loved the world of nature very much, from which she often derived themes, motifs, images for her poems.

Like most of her poems, there’s an “arcano” (riddle) to be discovered. How can snow never accumulate? Come mai la neve non si accumula?

The “fragrant snow” is thought by scholars to be a metaphor for the white petal blossoms of late spring. So really, this “winter-esque” poem could be interpreted as set in spring, and it’s more of a thoughtful and clever way to connect the similarities in nature with consciousness and perception of the “past, future, the memory, the imagination, the gaps and connections between the now and the then.”

This, for Dickinson, is a reason for reflection on life: if all the storms (the difficulties we encounter) were so short and fleeting, like snow that doesn’t last, they would have no value, because they would not remain in our memory. The memory of obstacles and hardships is what allows us to clearly recognize and really appreciate the moments and periods of joy in our lives.

Photo from Pixabay, CCO.


La Neve che mai si accumula –
La transitoria, fragrante neve
Che arriva una sola volta l’Anno
Morbida s’impone ora –

Tanto pervade l’albero
Di notte sotto la stella
Che certo sia il Passo di Febbraio
L’Esperienza giurerebbe –

Invernale come un Volto
Che austero e antico conoscemmo
Riparato in tutto tranne la Solitudine
Dall’Alibi della Natura –

Fosse ogni Tempesta così dolce
Valore non avrebbe –
Noi compriamo per contrasto – La Pena è buona
Quanto più vicina alla memoria –


The Snow that never drifts —
The transient, fragrant snow
That comes a single time a Year
Is softly driving now —

So thorough in the Tree
At night beneath the star
That it was February’s Foot
Experience would swear —

Like Winter as a Face
We stern and former knew
Repaired of all but Loneliness
By Nature’s Alibi —

Were every storm so spice
The Value could not be —
We buy with contrast — Pang is good
As near as memory —


Che ne pensate voi? What do you all think?

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About the Author: Bridgette

Just your average Irish-American Italo-Francophone. Client Engagement for Transparent Language.

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