from Aphorisms

By Alda Merini Alda Merini

Translated By Douglas Basford

always looks for the egg
in a basket
that has been lost.

*       *       *

I sample sin as if it were
the beginning of well-being.

*       *       *

I don't like Paradise
as they probably don't have obsessions there.

*       *       *

If God absolves me
he always does so
for insufficient

*       *       *

Everyone is a friend of his own pathology.

*       *       *

When I raise a toast to madness,
I toast myself as well.

*       *       *

There are nights that don't
ever happen.

Source: Poetry (December 2007).


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

December 2007
 Alda  Merini


Renowned and beloved in her native Italy, poet Alda Merini’s numerous books include The Presence of Orpheus, Fear of God, Roman Wedding, Diary of an Other, and Love Lessons (2009),a selection of  poems translated into English by Susan Stewart. Institutionalized for mental illness for nearly two decades, Merini’s later poems meditate on illness, nature, and myth. Merini was twice nominated for a Nobel Prize during her lifetime, . . .

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Poems by Alda Merini

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Health & Illness, Disappointment & Failure


Poetic Terms Aphorism

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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