Distance (Andrea Zanzotto)

December 9, 2009

Now that your distance surrounds me
I stand unarmed inside a lone evening

The honey is fragrant on the table
and there is thunder in the valley,
much anxiety between the one and the other

I am frequented space
deserted by your sun.

Come. Ask me where
shout solitude at me

And this sky tainted with dismay
with mountain lights
has learned me by heart forever.

(trans. from the Italian by Ruth Feldman and Brian Swann)


Born in 1921, Andrea Zanzotto taught in the public schools in Italy for many years, and wrote poems rooted in the landscape and local culture. I love poems–and Zanzotto has written many of them–that seem to renew, in their own shy, plodding way, the pastoral.

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