Dante Maffia

Biagio Marin (Grado 1891-1985) had an initial experience similar to Giotti's; he too moved to Florence, in 1911, and was in contact with the people from Venezia Giulia. He went to school in Gorizia and Pisino, in Istria, and after the war he got a degree in philosophy in Rome with Giovanni Gentile. His first book, Fiuri de tapo is from 1912, and La ghirlanda de gno suorecame out only ten years later. Then in 1927 he published Cansone picole; in 1949, twenty-two years later, Le litanie de la Madona, and in 1951 I canti de l'isola. From then on Marin's work became hectic, his books came out without pause, as if a demon had taken possession of him and forced him to write an uninterrupted diary in verse. Yet rarely has a poet been as consistent with himself as Marin: one could change at will the date of publication and it would be difficult (besides the external facts of his biography) to establish the period of the writing, already mastered at the start, identical with itself in that relationship between self and landscape that characterizes every book and has made his work unique in Italian literature. But Marin's poetry, as in any case Giotti's, did not produce followers, it did not create a school (as it happened with Matisse's painting) because he lived of impalpable furors, airy exhilaration, nuances, starts, echoes. His poetry winds endlessly over a stretch of land inhabited by the wind and the seagulls, the tides and the light, the clouds and the smell of algae. It might sem that Marin has paid attention only to emotional impulses tied to a blind lyricism unrelated to everyday life, but instead he has experienced everything, even pain and solitude, in the airiness of his feelings, in that "mathematical abstraction that does justice - the justice of poetry - to the tenderness and yearning of life. Marin's poetry is a miraculous synthesis of abstraction and sensuality, of absolute transparencies and lust for life." These are the words of Claudio Magris, one of the most thoughtful and insightful readers of Marin, one who has been able to read the poet in his essence. When Marin defines himself as "gulf," we understand the sense of his thinking of himself as end and beginning. If the tension towards the Absolute undergoes an acceleration, because of external factors and long meditations, the Heraclitean river inside him swells and widens, breaks the embankments and overflows, until it becomes liturgy, as Brevini says, until it turns poetry into "an act that substitutes existence."
This justifies the uninterrupted writing of the later years and also the relapses and reiterations, the constant recurrence of themes and images, of symbols and risky metaphors. His poetry is a rumble that breaks into streams and every stream has its own path and subtle veins, rebounds and colors, but at a certain point the various branches go back to where they came, so that the magnificent immense tree keeps on producing but forbids the birds to use its branches, the wayfarer to enjoy its shade, the farmer to take its wood.
In 1943, with the death of his only son, Falco, his horizons become open wounds and his gaze clouded (Giotti too had similar sorrows), but in the end the power of the gulf wins out, the call of the abysses experienced as counterpoint, as the possibility of dying in order to find oneself intact in the circuit of beings purified and ready to sail again. "What the word did not permit him in length, Marin redeemed in depth," Carlo Bo writes, and it could not have been any different, because he remained attached to his being like a root, to the extent that, as Pasolini said, "the light of the sun and the light of his senses have always been the same light."

Biagio Marin's works are endless and therefore the following list is very basic: Fiuri de tapo, Gorizia, 1912; La ghirlanda de gno suore, Gorizia, 1922; Cansone picole, Udine, 1927; Le litanie de la Madona, Trieste, 1949; I canti de l'isola, Udine, 1951; Tristessa de la sera, Verona, 1957; L'estadela de San Martin, Caltanisetta-Rome, 1958; El fogo de ponente; Venice, 1959;Solitàe, Milan, 1961; Elegie istriane, 1963; El mar de l'eterno, 1967; Tra sera e note, 1968; El picolo nìo, Udine, 1969; A sol calao, Milan, 1974; In memoria, Milan, 1978; Nel silenzio più teso, Milan, 1980; E anche el vento tase, Genoa, 1982; La vose de la sera, Milan, 1985.

An exhaustive bibliography of Marin's work can be found in El vento de l'eterno se fa teso, edited by E. Guagnini, Milan-Trieste, 1973 and, for subsequent years, in Poesia e fortuna di Biagio Marin, edited by E. Serra, Gorizia, 1981. At any rate, cf. C. Bo, Preface to Elegie istriane, cit.; C. Marabini, La ciave e il cerchio, Milan, 1973; L. Borsetto, "La poetica di Biagio Marin," in La rassegna della letteratura italiana, September-December 1974; A. Zanzotto, "Poesia che ascolta le onde," in Corriere della sera, June 5, 1977; C. Magris, "Io sono un golfo," introduction to Nel silenzio più teso, cit.; F. Loi, "Il silenzio di Marin," in Nuova Rivista Europea, July-September, 1980; F. Brevini, Poeti dialettali del Novecento, cit.; idem, Le parole perdute, cit.

Poems translated by Adeodato Piazza Nicolai

Xe vero che muri' ne toca

Xe vero che murî ne toca,
xe breve el tenpo fra matin e sera,
che la zornada pol êsse de guera
che xe mundi el dolor e zogia poca.

Ma pur el sol, la luse
che in alto ne conduse,
i va vissi,
penai e godùi.

Ne l'ore palpita l'Eterno,
se tu lo vighi, se tu lo sinti,
se svuli via co' duti i vinti,
e mai in tu farà l'inverno:

No 'vê paura che 'l bocon te manchi,
de l'aqua de la vita un sorso;
el sol, el sielo, anche ili un sorso,
e nel travaglio sovo mai i xe stanchi.

E' vero ci tocca morire - E' vero ci tocca morire: / breve è il tempo tra mattino e sera, / e la giornata può essere una guerra, / e molto il dolore, poca la gioia. // Ma anche il sole, la luce / che ci portano in alto, / vanno vissuti, / sofferti e goduti. // Nelle ore palpita l'Eterno, / se tu lo scorgi, se tu l'ascolti, / se voli via con ogni vento, / mai dentro di te arriverà l'inverno. // Non temere che ti manchi il cibo, / e una sorsata d'acqua della vita; / il sole, il cielo, anch'essi una sorsata, / e nel loro andare non sono mai stanchi.

It's True That All of Us Die

It's true that all of us die,
from dawn to dusk the time is short
each of our days can bring only trouble
and misery rules while joy quickly fades.

But even the sunlight
that lifts up our spirit
we must yet live,
suffer and cherish.

Eternity lives in an hour,
hear it and grab it;
if you sail with the wind
you'll never feel winter.

Be not afraid to go hungry
and never drink the waters of life;
the sun and sky are also water
that never tires of the flowing.

L'aqua del fiume

L'aqua del fiume
senpre la score
in dute l'ore
con un diverso lume.

Ninte xe fermo
né sosta e resta:
trascore lesta
l'ora del zorno infermo.

No stâ voltâte indrìo,
sempre camina;
fa sempre matina
dopo la note de Dio.

Godi nel pinsier
che duto e ninte more,
che drento l'ore
ogni to passo xe lisier.

L'acqua del fiume - L'acqua del fiume / scorre senza posa / a tutte le ore / con una luce diversa. // Niente è fermo / né sosta e rimane: / rapida se ne va / l'ora del giorno invalido. // Non girarti all'indietro, / cammina senza posa: / giunge sempre il mattino / dopo la notte di Dio. // Godi nel tuo intimo / che tutto e niente muore, / che dentro le ore / ogni tuo passo è leggero.

The River's Water

The river's water
flows without rest
for hours and hours,
its lights always changing.

There is no stillness,
no respite nor rest:
each day just concluded
rapidly fades in an hour.

Don't ever look back,
Keep walking, don't rest:
once the night of the Spirit
has passed, morning will break.

Then rejoice and be glad
since all and nothing will pass,
and may your steps travel light
at each turn of the hour.

Tu son vignùa da me, de svolo

Tu son vigna da me, de svolo,
e gero duto verto:
t'hè dao la benvignùa nel gno deserto,
un fonte d'aqua e pùo me solo.

T'hè 'bùo paura
che te tagiesso l'ale,
che te fesso un gran male,
co' la fiaba che dura,

quela de sior Intento:
ma gero solo in vogia de parole,
de 'vête a colo e scoltâ l'ole,
che favela col vento.

Tu sei venuta da me, a volo - Tu sei venuta da me, a volo, / e io ero tutto aperto: / t'ho dato il benvenuto in questo deserto, / una fonte d'acqua e poi io solo. // Ti ho festeggiato / pregandoti di fermarti:/ rapida hai aperto le ali, / e sei volata alla tua riva. // Hai avuto timore / che ti tagliassi le ali, / che ti facessi un gran male, / con la favola che si ripete, // quella del "sior Intento": / ma avevo solo voglia di parlare, / di tenerti vicino e ascoltar le onde, / che chiacchierano col vento.

Questi tre testi sono tratti da: Nel silenzio più teso.

You Came to Me in Flight

you came to me in flight,
I was wide-open for you.
I drank you like water
in the desert and you left.

I feasted you, asked
that you would remain:
instantly spreading your wing,
you left for your other shore.

You feared I would trim your wings,
that I could fatally harm you
with fable too often retold
of the prince who never returns.

I only wanted to speak with you,
to have you close by my side
to hear the waves rolling in
and together talk to the wind.

Una canson de femena se stende

Una canson de femena se stende
comò caressa colda sul paese;
el gran silensio fa le meravegie
per quela vose drio de bianche tende.
El vespro setenbrin el gera casto:
fra le case incantae da la so luse
se sentiva 'na machina de cûse
sbusinâ a mosca drento el sielo vasto.
Improvisa quel'onda l'ha somerso
duto 'l paese ne la nostalgia:
la vose colda i cuori porta via
nel sielo setenbrin, cristalo terso.

Un canto di donna si distende - Un canto di donna si distende / come calda carezza sul paese; / il grande silenzio si meraviglia / di quella voce dietro bianche tende. / Il vespro di settembre era innocente: / tra le case incantate dalla sua luce / s'udiva una macchina da cucire / ronzare come mosca nell'immenso cielo. / All'improvviso quell'onda ha coperto / tutto il paese nella nostalgia: / la calda voce porta via i cuori / nel cielo di settembre, nitido cristallo.

Il testo è tratto da El vento de l'eterno se fa teso.

A Lady's Song Spreads

A lady's song spreads across town
like warm caresses; it marvels
as her music flows from behind
the white curtains. September's
late breeze tenderly stroked every
house made so bright by her song
while sounds from a sewing machine
are heard, like buzzing of flies
in an endless expanse of the sky.
Abruptly her melody covers
the village with melancholy: her voice
enchants every heart which now flows
like pure crystals in this autumn sky.