The Swiss Riveter: From LA CARTA DELLE ARANCE by Pietro de Marchi, translated by Marco Sonzogni

Orange Papers e con ardente affetto il sole aspetta

Dante, Par., XXIII 8

This tissue paper, multi-coloured,

rustling between the fingers

that smoothed it, stretched it carefully,

especially at the corners, to erect

before our eyes a fragile cylinder,

a flimsy tower and then to light it

at its summit, with a match;

and we who had waited intently

to see it, this sun of Sicily

printed on the paper, lifting off

the dish with a slight shrug,

then turning into trembling flight –

but the higher it went, the more it burned,

and, remaining an instant suspended in the air,

look a piece of burnt up sun

a fragment of the flaming tower

falls back onto the ground:

and then, while this confetti of scorched paper

still floated about us,

and even though no longer hungry

I kept asking for another orange to peel,

I was begging to do it again, to have another go,

this playing with fire.

By Pietro de Marchi

Translated by Marco Sonzogni


Pietro De Marchi was born in Italy and since 1984 has lived in Zurich, where he teaches Italian literature. He has published three collections of poetry, Parabole smorzate, Replica and La carta delle arance, and a book of short stories, Ritratti levati dall’ombra. His poetry is available in English in Here and not Elsewhere. Selected Poems 1990-2010.


From La carta delle arance (Edizioni Casagrande, 2017)


Photo of Pietro De Marchi © Alexander Jaquemet

Category: December 2018 - The Swiss RiveterTranslations

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