Today's poem is by Andrea Zanzotto, translated by Wayne Chambliss

Eclogue IV

Polyphemus, Phenomenological Bubble, Spring

Animula vagula blandula

a—"Sweet" breath which stirs
the hatchlings, the comatose, the mute;
"sweet" mist which portends
a return to the covenant;
man, vagary,
improper light, to whom I won't respond,
whose foot falls like rain atop the world.

These meadows savor water, violets and silence;
into phials of lakes, the white snow spills.
Eye, oyster: I have seen,
in a wandering world, a wandering
World, vagary, Spring,
into your thin psychoid you have summoned me,
to inhale the divine breath,
to play a little longer
in the soft saffron wax
of I and the world of Spring.
And so I come, direct, oblique,
And so I come—humped and smooth
as a gnawed-on seed, I drop and crawl
amongst the wools with which
the day protects its nascent chlorophylls;
the pop and rise and spin
as though stropped with a musical whip. For here, all things are as "music."
Not man, say I, but phenomenological ball.
Ah, Sunday is always Sunday,
                                                                 after all.
To thousands of stimulations,
the phenomenological bubbles glisten and darken and burst.
Hope too is a sphere. And so is thirst.
I abjure the conventional literature.
Oh Spring of nits and cocci,
of liquor, gods, and suspense,
"Would that I
could find new words":
but the petals and the petal's edge, the grass and the grassline blur—
such play becomes its players. Radiant monads,
crowds, corymbic bubbles and yourself
still round, a full circle,
the infinite eye of Polyphemus.

Po—No. There is no new ground to break here. Here, no one alters what is written.
Here is relapse. Here, the reluctant routine.
A joyless machine inscribes with fire
its vicious circle
in the cave of my eye.
So swear I:
Polyphemus, spherical, monocular,
drunk on the Spring wine of Ismarus,
I, from whose debauched lips drips—life
(oh, wine of Ismarus; oh, life; oh, Spring!)

Copyright © 2004 Andrea Zanzotto, translated by Wayne Chambliss All rights reserved
from jubilat
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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