Tongue. Antonella Anedda

You own no coffin to drag across the snow,
just a dog shivering in the dark.

Mother-tongue you’re heavyhearted;
garlic blackens in the copper pan.

A low drone rises from the hearth.
Winds tangle throughther all confused.
Aeolus blows but Babel’s left alive.

Daughter-tongue: creak of the juniper.
Your shudder at birth’s a shard chipped off
a storm among the planets

and the clouds, the clouds blindly race
obliterating from the skies all trace of lineage.


12 thoughts on “Tongue. Antonella Anedda

  1. Jamie McKendrick translated it from Sardinian. Here is the original version:

    Non tenes baùle ‘e istrisinare in supr’e nie
    Ma unu cane a trémula in s’iscuriù.

    Limba-matre ses triste.
    S’azu s’inniéddigat in sa sarràine.

    Sa mùghit’anziat.
    Sos ventos si coffundent.
    Eolo survat et Babele s’isparghet.

    Fiza-limba tràchitas a ghineperu.
    Una tremita tua naschinde
    est ch’astula de livrina in mes’a isteddos

    et sas nues, sas nues a sa thurpas fughint
    iscanzellande dae chelu onzi zenìas.

  2. I suspect there’s something wrong here: “Winds tangle throughter all confused.” … GK …

  3. I concur with Gavin. ‘throughter’ is not a word I recognise. I like the poem though. What a beautiful language Sardinian is. Is it a dialect of French with Spanish/Italian influences? Or an Italian dialect with…etc

  4. Ah, the estimable (if not always reliable) Wikipedia says that Sardinian is a Romance language of Latin origin (what else) but with significant pre-Roman elements including Phoenician and Etruscan. Now, it would be nice to hear some Phoenician or Etruscan spoken.

  5. I’m grateful for your comments about ‘throughter’which is a typo for the dialect word ‘throughther’ – as in ‘throughother’. The only time I’ve seen it in print is in Hopkins’s ‘Spelt from the Sibyl’s Leaves’ “as-/tray or aswarm, all throughther, in throngs”. Perhaps the word’s a bit astray itself.

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