‘A ‘ssuta ru uaddone ‘carcinato.Teresa Armenti

Nun cia faciya cchiù
a fa ‘a vita ra rannato,
a send’ ‘u friddo ru cimendo
e ‘a puzza ra catrama ‘nanimarata

Mi so’ proprio stuffato
‘i esse scarpisato
ra sgummate ‘i rote
ra li passi ‘i li ‘mbriachi,
ra li chiacchire ‘a pirditembo

Mi mangano
li iungi, li salici e li cavaddin’,
li sciacquate e li sbattute
‘i li robbe striculate,
‘u raglio ru ciuccio
dopo n’abbivirata,
l’ zumbi ‘ i criyature scàvuz’
ra ‘na ponda a’ l’ata,
‘u sole ca mi scarfa
e aluna m’annaca.

Ch’ male v’aggiu fatto
p’avè stu trattamendo!?
Bastava ca viniya fatta ‘viya
a rasa miya,
accussì putiya
zumbà cum’ meglio cr’riya.

‘A paura v’è vinuta
pa rabbia ch’aggio avuta!!
Ma vicino ‘u Diurno,
c’era pica ferro
e iusto ‘na freccia ‘i cimendo.
Ralli e dalli, abbotta, abbotta,
‘a fine m’aggin truvata ‘a ‘ssuta.

Quisto è sulo ‘nu signale,
p’ fa virè ch’ forza hav’
‘u uaddone carcinato,
ma si mmi faciti sbutà ‘a capo,
vi scummoglio l’ pignateddi,
c’aggio tenuti ammucciati
p’ ‘na vita sana
e po’ mi carreio appresso
tutu quiddo ca trovo ‘nnanzi.


20 thoughts on “‘A ‘ssuta ru uaddone ‘carcinato.Teresa Armenti

  1. This poem is in Lucanian, the dialect of Basilicata. Our friends from Campania might want to attempt a translation into English.. Thanks to William Stabile for spotting it.

  2. Mo’ te vojo vedè a tradurla.

    (mi sarebbe piaciuto commentare in inglese ma mi ha preso attacco di timidezza)


  3. It is a lament of a torrent whose waters are scarred by cement and pollution.. I tried to translate it into Italian but I failed miserably. The lament was turned into a sort nostalgic bleeting.

  4. Thanks Luca for publishing this beatiful poem of Teresa Armenti. Would be nice if the italian transaltion would be available for our readers. Teresa is also a fine critic living in Basilicata.
    William Stabile


    I can no longer bear
    dragging this damned life
    feeling this cold cement
    and the stench of this tarmark;
    I’m fed up with being trampled
    by screeching tyres
    drunkards steps
    & useless chats.
    I miss the reeds, the willows and the horse-radish
    the splashes and slaps
    of washed clothes
    the cry of the ass
    after drinking
    the leaps of barefoot kids
    from a bank to another
    the sun that warms
    and the moon that rocks

    What have I done
    to deserve this treatment?
    They should have built a road
    by my side
    so I could jump as I wished

    You got scared didn’t you
    for the rage I had!
    But near the Diurno
    there was little metal
    and only little cement.
    I tried and tried, it held and held
    eventually I found my way out.

    This is only a sign
    to let you see what strength
    a bridled torrent has,
    but if you make me mad,
    I’ll leave you the secrets
    I kept hidden
    for my whole life
    and then I’ll drag
    whatever stands in front of me.

  6. ok barefoot, right? I’ll amend it now.. Pain in the neck.. I told you it was a 5 min translation..

  7. Pain in the neck? I was just praising the hidden poetry of it – although i know you generally don’t make use of these these pseudo-derridean tricks.
    PS: now that you’re at it, you can also check ‘strenght’ (last stanza, second line). by the way, the translation is great, but as you know i’m not one for compliments…

  8. Beautiful, Luca. A fine poem (can’t comment on it as a translation, but perhaps to say that in English it stands as a beautiful thing in its own right). Two small quibbles:
    1. The first line is a double negative (not done in English except to indicate a slang usage (or an American…) ‘I can no longer bear…’ perhaps.
    2. And in the last stanza, I suggest ‘what strength a bridled torrent has…’ Your construction sits a little awkwardly in English.
    Like Serena, I too like ‘barefoot kids’.

    Now I must return with the parallel text to the original.

    I’ve been very busy – the house has been full of Italians – friends from Naples and I’ve been tour guide, translator (sic) and driver all in one.


  9. Bravo Luca!!! Mi piace la traduzione, nonche’ l’originale in dialetto. Lo so…ho preso fin troppo tempo per leggerla da quando ne abbiamo parlato, ma stamane me la sono goduta senza dover spartre il mio tempo con studenti e altro lavoro.
    One thing…shouldn’t the very first verb be in the past: in the original it is an imperfect..perhaps ‘could’ might work here too. The torrent is refgerring to a past action…it could no longer bear whataver it was….so it burst in a rage – but at the moment of the narration it seems that is has already happened.

  10. Thank you Mari! Finally you managed to post your comment and I’m glad you did it. I opted for the present tense because I wanted to preserve it in the other stanzas.. If I put ‘could’ I need to change the other verbs as well. Negotiation 😉

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