Far Away, Far Away . . .

By Franco Fortini Franco Fortini

Translated By Geoffrey Brock

Far away, far away, men making wars.
Other folk's blood spilt on other folk's floors.

Only this morning I wounded my finger:
a thorn on my rosebush pierced like a stinger.

Sucking that finger, I thought of the war.
Sad is the earth! And those people, so poor!

I'm of no help, being here and not there,
nor can I reach them, by sea or by air.

And what if I could—what good could I do?
My Arabic's terrible! My English is, too!

What, should I stroll through the fields of the dead
leaving sheaves of my verses under each head?

No. Enough of this wretched irony-fest.
Let's put on a coat. The sun's low in the west.

Source: Poetry (December 2007).


This poem originally appeared in the December 2007 issue of Poetry magazine

December 2007


Franco Fortini was born Franco Lattes in Florence in 1917 to a Jewish father and a Catholic mother, but after the racial laws of 1938 he traded his hazardous surname for his mother's maiden name. Drafted into the army in 1941, he deserted in 1943 and joined the partisans. His first book of poetry, Foglio di via (Deportation order), appeared in 1946, and his last, Composita solvantur (Let componds be dissolved), appeared in 1994, . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets, Social Commentaries, War & Conflict, Life Choices


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