The Hitler Spring
--after Eugenio Montale (c. 1942)
A dense white cloud of mayflies madly
whirls around pale street lamps and over roofs
spreading a blanket like scattered sugar
on which the soul grinds itself.
Summer looms and releases
the night frosts it once held captive
in secret caves of a dead season.
Suddenly, an infernal messenger flies through
The murderers salute; a mystic chasm, fired
and flagged with swastikas, has snatched and swallowed us!
The shop windows, humble and unobtrusive, are closed,
though they, too, are armed
with toy cannons of war.
The butcher has stuffed dressings of flowers and berries
in mouths of slaughtered goats:
ritual of a gentle hangman, once innocent of blood
is changed to a spastic dance of shattering wings;
the mayflies' little deaths whiten the pier's edge
water continues to eat at the shoreline,
and now, no one is blameless.
All for nothing, now? --Roman candles
at San Giovanni,
which whitened the horizon-- oaths,
the lingering farewells with the strength of baptism
that sad expectation of the horde, (but a bud explodes in air,
dispersing on the ice and rivers of our country
messengers of Tobias, the seven, the seeds of the future)
and a heliotrope born of burned hands is sucked dry
by a pollen that weeps as fire, winged with ice and salt.
springtime will go on with her festival, and freeze
in death all the death! Look, again beyond, cara mia;
you preserve your destiny by a love which won't change
until the sun you carry inside yourself is blinded--
in the other, and confounds itself and all in God.
Maybe the sirens and holy bells
which salute monsters of the night
at their warlock's sabbath are already damned by celestial sound
released, descending to conquer with its breath
a dawn which may yet reappear, tomorrow, white
without wings of terror, to the dried lit horizons of the south.
Copyright 1999, Daniela
Daniela Gioseffi has published several books of poetry, a comic novel,
short stories and non-fiction. Awards include an American Book Award, 1990,
for Women on War; International Voices, a World Peace Prize winning
book, On Prejudice; A Global
Perspective, and a PEN Short Fiction Award (1990 ) for Daffodil Dollars.