The Song of the H.F. and of the U.M. in three parts. Elsa Morante


I
Explanatory Introduction

?What does H.F. stand for?     It’s an abbreviation
for Happy Few.
?And who are the Happy Few?      Explaining it’s not easy,
for the Happy Few can’t be described.
Whilst few in number
they come from every race sex & nation
epoch age society status
and religion.
From the rich & from the poor
(but, if born poor, they usually stay that way,
and, if  born rich, soon end up poor)
from the young & the old (yet
it’s seldom they get here in time to get old)
from the beautiful and from the ugly (although it’s true that,
even when they’re vulgarly regarded as ugly,
in REALITY they’re beautiful; but REALITY
is rarely visible….
Well then.  Impartially, to be fair,
we’ll certify here, in good faith,
that the H. F., all of them, are always
BEAUTIFUL
even if, for the most part, people can’t see it).
Anyway, it’ll do for the present
explanatory preamble to note
that amongst their many & various forms there are
the exalted and the notorious, the anonymous and the hidden
(although, in the case of the famous, Celebrity doesn’t
generally show any great hurry to embrace them while they’re alive,
taking greater pleasure in seizing them in its posthumous grip,
once they’re already
deceased).
?And where are they found, as a rule?     There’s no rule.
In truth, Biology hasn’t yet discovered
their true natural element.
They’re found in the Himalayas and on the sea, in the city and in the
/desert, in the metropolis and in the suburbs
in alleyways and on motorways
maybe even on the moons and the remoter planets
& even – even in government departments – remember Henri Beyle –
never though in the highest levels of bureaucracy
or the various positions of official authority
to which they’ve always suffered a serious allergy.
You can meet them
at the university the pub in the factory in prison in brothels in convents
/at the theatre the dance the café
amongst the sage and the illiterate in the Ghettoes in the Kasbah in the
/underground on a jet
at the old folks’ home at the hospital for the mad
They spring up in the least hospitable climes
and hide themselves where you least expect them.
As a matter of fact the H.F. are
fatal accidents of Perpetual Motion
originary seeds of the Cosmos, flying between fantastic poles, borne on
/the winds’ whim,
budding in every terrain.
Much more often, though they come back
on certain bearings (barbaric) and to obscure places (depressed)
where they don’t have the bad habit of assassinating prophets
nor of exterminating
poets.

?& what does U.M. mean?   We’re dealing here too, of course, with an
/abbreviation
for Unhappy Many.
?& who are the Unhappy Many?  They’re ALL
the others.
?But, in practice, what’s the sign by which we can identify on sight
that degenerate minority amongst this normal majority?
It’s clear that here the real answer
should be: HAPPINESS.  However, (see above)
HAPPINESS
often doesn’t seem to be visible to everyday folk
with the rheum of the multitudinous
fumes of irreality clouding their eyes.  & so the saying goes:
“There’s no such thing as happiness”.
IRREALITY is the opium of the people…and
for a wholesale detoxification
the cure is an exercise of heroic hardship…
!!Ah, but this can’t be good for us!  We’re not having this!!
!but, now, please furnish us immediately,
with the name surname and address
of some genuine authenticated representative H.F.
so that we can keep a little file on them here ready
without too much work and hassle!

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2 thoughts on “The Song of the H.F. and of the U.M. in three parts. Elsa Morante

  1. This is an extract of the translation of Elsa Morante’s LA CANZONE DEGLI F.P. E DEGLI I.M.
    IN TRE PARTI. The translation is by Patrick Hart & Mariangela Palladino and is published by Joker. Thanks to Mariangela for letting us publish the extract.

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