Poetry Centre

Weekly Poem for 9 February 2009

  • Two poems

    MOTHER

    What peace
    between the folds
    of her old black dress, grimy
    from blowing into the fire,
    peace always
    as long as her head
    covered my own
    with whitened hair.

         Translated by Richard Burns

     

    TICKLED THE LAUGHTER

    The memory is dear to me
    like the often too short
    meals of my hungry childhood.
    From hardened hands yellow flour
    into boiling water
    while the fire
    crackling on the stones
    tickled the laughter
    from my eyes tearful with smoke.

         Translated by Peter Jay and Linda Lappin

     

    by Aldo Vianello

    from Selected Poems by Aldo Vianello. Translations by Richard Burns, Peter Jay, and Linda Lappin.

    Aldo Vianello is a little-known poet from Venice, now in his early seventies. He has never been abroad; his work is firmly rooted in the city he has loved all his life. His poems are mostly quite short, so I have given two which are connected as they both reflect his childhood and focus on his mother. The second shows how his mainly straightforward style can be suddenly sharpened by a twist of syntax - here, the omission in line 4 of words to the effect of "she poured", which quicken and dramatize the image.

    Vianello's first English selection, Time of a Flower, translated by Richard Burns, was Anvil's first publication in 1968. His new, bilingual Selected Poems, with additional translations by Peter Jay and Linda Lappin, appeared in 2008 as part of Anvil's 40th anniversary celebration.

    Anvil Press Poetry was founded in 1968 and publishes English-language poetry and poetry in translation, both classic and modern.