Translator's Note: Paolo Febbraro
I’m drawn to this cameo less for the moral than for the rich ambiguity of the fable. On first reading, I saw it chiefly as a poem of grief, saw the father’s casting of a line into the river—which, swollen with snowmelt, must bear with it at least the memory of the son and perhaps his actual body—as a morbid and even pathetic but also tender attempt to recover the irrecoverable. Think of the skier as Icarus, the father as Daedalus trawling the Mediterranean.
But that presumes a sympathetic rather than agonistic father-son relationship—a presumption which, if we do think of the Greeks, we might reconsider. Indeed when I asked the poet about this poem, the Greek father he mentioned was not Daedalus but Cronus. —Geoffrey Brock
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This poem originally appeared in the March 2012 issue of Poetry magazine