I love you word sign, sound of our human self placed inside a throat that so very slowly was formed for you to speak a thing exactly to speak water, bread, grass, earth – all of the world’s names. And also the unseen: fear, dream, nostalgia, abandon. Down so many eras, in the tight knot of the animal a sound was struggling through grunt, through breath, death rattle, drool. How it reared this strange form that we were how it strained to finally come to say: ‘I love’, ‘I forgive you’, ‘I think’, ‘I am’, to speak the entire world from crevice to star. I love you word. Out of a lust for you, for you, to speak you, all of the face burst through the snout and was made clear field was made countenance and lips, and the breath the delicate bellows to support you and blow you out into the world’s wide open, where you fully become what you are, and fly, ring out, and never stay but go free. I love you word. I don’t know if you are human invention or if it’s us who come from you. I don’t know if you hold the call the priming of a world beyond the world. I don’t know if it’s true that you sing the universe that you support it. You are crowned in your silence. You are the most perilous of all gifts.
By Mariangela Gualtieri
Translated by Cristina Viti
From Opening Voice (A Sound Ritual)
Venice Biennale Teatro (2020)
Published by Puntoacapo (2019)
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Mariangela Gualtieri is an Italian author of several award-winning poetry collections, and co-founder and principal playwright of the Teatro della Valdoca. A selection of her poems in English translation, Beast of Joy, was published by Chelsea Editions in 2018.
Cristina Viti is a translator and poet working with Italian, English and French. Her most recent publication was a co-translation of poems by Anna Gréki (The Streets of Algiers and Other Poems, Smokestack Books, 2020). Her translation of Elsa Morante’s The World Saved by Kids and Other Epics (Seagull Books, 2016) was shortlisted for the John Florio Prize.