Nelo Risi, Dentro la sostanza

April 30, 2010

Nelo Risi, Poesie scelte (1943-1975). Ed. Giovanni Raboni. Milano: Arnoldo Mondadori Editore, 1977.

From “Dentro la sostanza” (1960-1965).
Dentro la sostanza                               
Senza un qualcosa su cui                         
poggiare non si puo’ costruire;            
in altri tempi sui comandamenti         
oggi sul populo, sempre                          
le verita’ corali son verita’                      
solari che fanno un fracasso                  
infernale, sono un calvario                  
di slanci commesi a chi viene              
dopo, per un cominciamento             
Inside the substance
Without something on which
to lean, one can’t build;
in other times commandments
today leaning on the people, always
bright choral truths, one’s truth,
making an infernal din, a Calvary
of impulses committed to those
who came after, a new
 It’s been difficult to come to grips with the obscure nature of the rhetoric: swirling around ideas of commandment-like truths for people, interior and internal truths which move from the Old Testament to the Calvary and ‘new beginning’ of the New Testament. The middle lines, the kernel, are the most difficult to sort out: I have to assume the ‘solari’ (the adjective ‘solar’) belongs to the truths (le verita’) to which is attached the word ‘corali’, redolent of heavenly hosts singing on high, contrasted of course with the ‘fracasso infernale’, the infernal din with its strong ‘f’ sonority. There is of course ambiguity in the ‘sono un calvario’ which can mean either “I am” or “they are” (referring to the truths). As the title poem of the collection, more may be revealed by reading the rest of the works.

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