The Sweetness; Villages

Corrado Govoni

Translated from Italian by Paul Bohince

The Sweetness

Blue Sundays in the spring.
Snow on houses like white wigs.
The rambles of lovers along the canal.
Making bread on Sunday morning.
March rain beating on gray tiles.
Wisteria blooming on the wall.
White curtains in the windows of the convent.
Saturday’s bells.
Lit candles before the relics.
Mirrors illuminated in rooms.
Red flowers above a white tablecloth.
Golden lamps that come on in the evening.
Twilight, bloodstains on the walls.
Roses shedding on sickbeds.
Playing the piano on a happy occasion.
The song of the cuckoo in the countryside.
Cats on windowsills.
Snow-white doves on roofs.
Malva in pots.
Beggars eating on the steps of churches.
The sick in the sun.
Girls combing their gold in sunstruck doors.
Women singing from windows.

Villages

Bells explode cheerfully
from white bell towers on gray
roofs; women with red handkerchiefs
pull bread from round ovens.

They kill a pig in the snow
while a group of children, fascinated
by blood, wait wide-eyed
for the cruel, brief agony.

The roosters cry victoriously.
The oxen come from black barns,
lie quietly on riverbanks,

gravely descend to drink silver water.
In pink and white fields are cemeteries
expectant in green wheat.

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