I wonder where they get those tokens, Did I pass that way huge times ago and negligently drop them? Shaded ledges and rests it shall be you! I help myself to material and immaterial, No guard can shut me off, no law prevent me. Blacksmiths with grimed and hairy chests environ the anvil, Each has his main-sledge, they are all out, there is a great heat in the fire. I am given up by traitors, I talk wildly, I have lost my wits, I and nobody else am the greatest traitor, I went myself first to the headland, my own hands carried me there. I understand the large hearts of heroes, The courage of present times and all times, How the skipper saw the crowded and rudderless wreck of the steamship, and Death chasing it up and down the storm, How he knuckled tight and gave not back an inch, and was faithful of days and faithful of nights, And chalk'd in large letters on a board, Be of good cheer, we will not desert you; How he follow'd with them and tack'd with them three days and would not give it up, How he saved the drifting company at last, How the lank loose-gown'd women look'd when boated from the side of their prepared graves, How the silent old-faced infants and the lifted sick, and the sharp-lipp'd unshaved men; All this I swallow, it tastes good, I like it well, it becomes mine, I am the man, I suffer'd, I was there. The little light fades the immense and diaphanous shadows, The air tastes good to my palate. Have you felt so proud to get at the meaning of poems? What blurt is this about virtue and about vice?
I am not the poet of goodness only, I do not decline to be the poet of wickedness also. Earth of departed sunset--earth of the mountains misty-topt! Every kind for itself and its own, for me mine male and female, For me those that have been boys and that love women, For me the man that is proud and feels how it stings to be slighted, For me the sweet-heart and the old maid, for me mothers and the mothers of mothers, For me lips that have smiled, eyes that have shed tears, For me children and the begetters of children. Have you practis'd so long to learn to read? I ascend to the foretruck, I take my place late at night in the crow's-nest, We sail the arctic sea, it is plenty light enough, Through the clear atmosphere I stretch around on the wonderful beauty, The enormous masses of ice pass me and I pass them, the scenery is plain in all directions, The white-topt mountains show in the distance, I fling out my fancies toward them, We are approaching some great battle-field in which we are soon to be engaged, We pass the colossal outposts of the encampment, we pass with still feet and caution, Or we are entering by the suburbs some vast and ruin'd city, The blocks and fallen architecture more than all the living cities of the globe. Do I astonish more than they?
Agonies are one of my changes of garments, I do not ask the wounded person how he feels, I myself become the wounded person, My hurts turn livid upon me as I lean on a cane and observe. I find I incorporate gneiss, coal, long-threaded moss, fruits, grains, esculent roots, And am stucco'd with quadrupeds and birds all over, And have distanced what is behind me for good reasons, But call any thing back again when I desire it. Clear and sweet is my soul, and clear and sweet is all that is not my soul. My voice is the wife's voice, the screech by the rail of the stairs, They fetch my man's body up dripping and drown'd. I take part, I see and hear the whole, The cries, curses, roar, the plaudits for well-aim'd shots, The autoambulanza slowly passing trailing its red drip, Workmen searching after damages, making indispensable repairs, The fall of grenades through the rent roof, the fan-shaped explosion, The whizz of limbs, heads, stone, wood, iron, high in the air. Have you outstript the rest?
I am satisfied--I see, dance, laugh, sing; As the hugging and loving bed-fellow sleeps at my side through the night, and withdraws at the peep of the day with stealthy tread, Leaving me baskets cover'd with white towels swelling the house with their plenty, Shall I postpone my acceptation and realization and scream at my eyes, That they turn from gazing after and down the road, And forthwith cipher and show me to a cent, Exactly the value of one and exactly the value of two, and which is ahead? I am given up by traitors, I talk wildly, I have lost my wits, I and nobody else am the greatest traitor, I went myself first to the headland, my own hands carried me there. Less the reminders of properties told my words, And more the reminders they of life untold, and of freedom and extrication, And make short account of neuters and geldings, and favor men and women fully equipt, And beat the gong of revolt, and stop with fugitives and them that plot and conspire. The runaway slave came to my house and stopt outside, I heard his motions crackling the twigs of the woodpile, Through the swung half-door of the kitchen I saw him limpsy and weak, And went where he sat on a log and led him in and assured him, And brought water and fill'd a tub for his sweated body and bruis'd feet, And gave him a room that enter'd from my own, and gave him some coarse clean clothes, And remember perfectly well his revolving eyes and his awkwardness, And remember putting piasters on the galls of his neck and ankles; He staid with me a week before he was recuperated and pass'd north, I had him sit next me at table, my fire-lock lean'd in the corner. Earth of the limpid gray of clouds brighter and clearer for my sake! Sprouts take and accumulate, stand by the curb prolific and vital, Landscapes projected masculine, full-sized and golden. Clear and sweet is my soul, and clear and sweet is all that is not my soul.
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Sviluppato Antonio Baritono