The Shadow

By Carlo Betocchi 1899–1986 Carlo Betocchi

Translated By Geoffrey Brock Read the translator's notes

One spring day I saw
the shadow of a strawberry tree
lying on the moor
like a shy lamb asleep.

Its heart was far away,
suspended in the sky,
brown in a brown veil,
in the sun’s eye.

The shadow played in the wind,
moving there alone
to make the tree content.
Here and there it shone.

It knew no pain, no haste,
wanting only to feel morning,
then noon, then the slow-paced
journey of evening.

Among all the shadows always
joining eternal shadow,
shrouding the earth in falseness,
I loved this steady shadow.

And thus, at times, it descends
among us, this meek semblance,
and lies down, as if drained,
in grass and in patience.

Carlo Betocchi, Tutte le poesie, © Garzanti Editore spa, 1996.

Source: Poetry (March 2010).

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This poem originally appeared in the March 2010 issue of Poetry magazine

March 2010

Biography

Carlo Betocchi led a double life, working for decades as a surveyor and engineer building bridges, roads, and canals, while helping to found the influential literary journal, Il Frontespizio. His Tutte le poesie (Complete poems) appeared in 1984.

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Time & Brevity

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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