Nelo Risi, Telegiornale
May 16, 2010
Nelo Risi, Poesie scelte (1943-1975). Ed. Giovanni Raboni. Milano: Arnoldo Mondadori Editore, 1977.
From “Dentro la sostanza” (1960-1965).
Stando nel chercio d’ombra
come selvaggi intorno al fuoco
buonarimento entra in famiglia
qualche immagine di sterminio.
Cos’ogni sera si teorizza
la violenza della storia.
Standing in the circle of shadows
like wild animals around a fire
goodhumouredly it enters into the family
some image of extermination.
So every evening is theorised away
the violence of history.
Here we have the quintessential Risi: short, tough lines, uncompromising in their social criticism, all the more biting through the clever use of simple language and straightforward structure. The conclusion of the second sentence contrasting with the scene-setting in the first. There is the feel of perpetuation in the opening present participle. There is a certain extravagance in the adverb, ‘buonariamente’ which suggests all is right with the world, with the domesticity broken apart in the final word, ‘sterminio’. The juxtaposition of a modern Italian domestic scene with Neanderthal lack of civilization cuts to the core. I’m appreciative of the tight rhyme scheme, the sequence of -a and -o rhymes. Risi at his best!