D I N O C A M P A N A
from CANTI ORFICI
(DIE TRAGÖDIE DES LETZTEN GERMANEN IN ITALIEN)
To Wilhelm II emperor of the Germans
the author dedicates
Translated by Anny Ballardini
from The Night
I remember an old town, red its walls and turreted, burnt on the endless plain in the torrid August, with the distant coolness of green and flabby hills on the background. Enormously empty arches of bridges on the swamped river in meager leaden stagnations: black shapes of moving and silent gypsies on the bank: among the far glare of reed-thicket naked forms of adolescents and the profile of the Judaic beard of an elder: when from the middle of the dead water the gypsies and a chant, from the voiceless swamp a primordial monotonous and irritating lament; and of time the course was suspended.
And then representations of a very ancient free life, of enormous solar myths, of slaughters of orgies were created in front of my spirit. I saw again an ancient image, a skeletal form living for the mysterious strength of a barbarous myth, her vortex changing eyes vivid with obscure lymph, in the torture of the dream the vulcanized body disappears, two stains two holes of musket balls on her extinct breasts. I thought I heard guitars quivering there in the hut of boards and zinc on the vague terrains of the town, while a candle cleared the naked ground. In front of me a wild matron stared at me, fixedly. Light was scarce on the naked ground in the quivering of the guitars. On one side to the flowering treasure of a dreaming girl the old woman was now clinging as a spider while she seemed to utter in my ear words I did not hear, soft as the wordless wind of the Pampa that submerges. The wild matron had caught me: my lukewarm blood was certainly drunk by the earth: now the light was fainter on the naked ground on the metallic breath of the guitars. Finally the freed girl exhaled her youth, languid in her wild grace, her eyes sweet and sharp as a vortex. On the shoulders of the beautiful savage grace languished at the shade of her fluid hair and the august foliage of the tree of life wove into the pause on the naked ground inviting the guitars the distant sleep. From the Pampa a leap was distinctly heard a pawing of wild horses, the rising wind was clearly heard, the pawing seemed to deafen in the infinite. In the painting of the open door the stars glittered red and warm in the distance: the shade of the wild women in the shade.
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