La Parola Più Bella Posted by Serena on May 9, 2019 in Literature, Traditions
On the second Sunday of May, like many other countries around the world, we celebrate la Festa della Mamma (Mothering Sunday).
In Italy this festival was first introduced as a business enterprise in 1956 at Bordighera, a town situated on the Ligurian coast, famous for the commerce of ornamental flowers. La Festa della Mamma was so successful that in 1958 it was made an official national festival.
At this latitude, May is the month when many plants are in full blossom, and so it’s natural that flowers, particularly roses, play an important role in la Festa della Mamma.
Here in Lunigiana however, the flower of choice is la giunchiglia (the wild daffodil) which grows profusely amongst the foothills of the Appennino Tosco-Emiliano mountains. In fact at this time of year these beautifully scented white flowers are in full blossom in the nearby Prati di Logarghena (Meadows of Logarghena), which lie at around 1000 meters (3,280 ft.) altitude. It’s an amazing sight: vast expanses of pasture land spangled by these gentle white flowers.
Happily, le giunchiglie are now a protected species, and cannot be picked. So instead of giving mia mamma a bunch of wild daffodils I’m going to dedicate to her a nice little poem called La Parola Più Bella (The Most Beautiful Word), written by the poet Marino Moretti (1885-1979), who was one the main members of the Italian literary movement known as il Crepuscolarismo (lit. the Twilight).
Here’s the poem followed by my English translation:
La Parola Più Bella, di Marino Moretti
Mamma. Nessuna parola è più bella.
La prima che si impara,
la prima che si capisce e che s’ama.
La prima di una lunga serie di parole
con cui s’è risposto alle infinite,
alle amorose, timorose domande
E anche se diventassimo vecchi,
come chiameremmo la mamma
più vecchia di noi?
Non c’è un altro nome.
The Most Beautiful Word, by Marino Moretti
Mother. No other word is more beautiful.
The first that we learn,
the first that we understand and love.
The first of a long series of words,
with which we have answered the infinite,
loving, apprehensive questions
And even if we should become old,
what would we call our mother
who is older than us?
There is no other name.
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