Italian Language Blog

Specchio di Primavera Posted by on Mar 21, 2011 in Uncategorized

Bentornata, Primavera! (Welcome back, Spring!) What better way to celebrate the official beginning of Spring than through the words of a great poet?

Salvatore Quasimodo was born in Modica (Sicily) on the 20th of August 1901. After completing his engineering studies in Palermo, Quasimodo travelled around Italy following “il lavoro che dà da vivere” (the job that earns you a living). He worked for the Department of Civil Engineering, but started writing poetry in his twenties, and his first important collection of poems, Acque e terre (Waters and lands), was published in 1930. Quasimodo was part of the cultural circles of Firenze, Roma and Milano, and wrote for several literary magazines. He also translated the works of many different poets, from the Latin Catullus to the English Shakespeare, from the Greek Sophocles to the Chilean Neruda. He became especially popular with his translations of “Lirici Greci” (Greek Poets), in which the words of the ancient Poets were brought back to life in a modern and vibrant way. Quasimodo was in Milano during the Second World war, the horrors of which he described in the collected poems “Giorno dopo giorno” (Day after day), published in 1947. In 1959 Quasimodo was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. He died on the 17th of June 1968 in Napoli.

This poem, entitled “Specchio” (Mirror), was first published in “Acque e terre” in 1930:


Ed ecco sul tronco

si rompono gemme:

un verde più nuovo dell’erba

che il cuore riposa:

il tronco pareva già morto,

piegato sul botro.


E tutto mi sa di miracolo;

e sono quell’acqua di nube

che oggi rispecchia nei fossi

più azzurro il suo pezzo di cielo,

quel verde che spacca la scorza

che pure stanotte non c’era.



And suddenly on the trunk

buds break open:

a green newer than the grass

which soothes the heart:

the trunk already seemed dead,

bent on the ravine.


And everything seems like a miracle;

and I’m that rainwater

that today reflects in the ditches

a deeper blue its piece of sky,

that green that splits the crust

which even last night wasn’t there.

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  1. Eduardo:

    Bello e giusto che arriva la Primavera. Non sapevo che gli italani avevano tante pemi Nobel in literatura

  2. andreas:

    Salve, Serena!
    Ti ringrazio per questo messaggio di tutto cuore. E’ una delle cose che mi piacciono tanto in questo blog: la poesia. C’è tanta bellezza!

  3. Tom:

    Beautiful poem! Glad to have the translation, as my Italian is still not good enough.
    thank you.

  4. Jeannet:

    Per la Primavera mi manco i moti, che uno: miracoloso!

  5. Lynn:

    Grazie mille. Io capisco un po L’Italiano. Sto cercando di imparare. Mi piace leggere queste belle parole.

    And I enjoy your blog.

    • Serena:

      @Lynn Salve Lynn, benvenuta nel mio blog, sono contenta che ti piace.

      A presto, Serena

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