from Aphorisms and Spells

By Alda Merini Alda Merini

Translated By Douglas Basford

As I am Catholic
I have never played.

*       *       *

I've had
thirty-six lovers
plus tax.

*       *       *

I am the most chaste woman
in Italian literature.

*       *       *

I am completely
not counting errors
and omissions.

*       *       *

Mount Sinai
is sometimes confused
with the Mons Veneris.

*       *       *

No one can know
what is
between me and God.

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, . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poems by Alda Merini

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Love, Religion, God & the Divine, Desire


Report a problem with this poem

Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine.

Search Every Issue of Poetry

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.