To His Mother, Whose Name Was Maria

By Attilio Bertolucci 1911–2000 Attilio Bertolucci

Translated from the Italian by Cyrus Cassells

Invoked every sundown, it’s you, painted on clouds
rouging our treasured plain and all who walk it,
with leaf-fresh kids and women damp from traveling,
city-bound, in the radiance of a just-stopped shower;
it’s you, mother eternally young, courtesy of death’s
plucking hand, rose at the fragrant point of unpetaling,
you who are the alpha of every neurosis, every torturing anxiety,
and for this I give you gratitude for time past, time present, time future.

Source: Poetry (July/August 2010).


This poem originally appeared in the July/August 2010 issue of Poetry magazine

View this poem in its original format

July/August 2010


Attilio Bertolucci (1911–2000) published seven volumes of poetry over a span of nearly seventy years. His finest works are widely considered to be Viaggio d’inverno (Winter Journey, 1971), in which “Poppies” appeared, and La camera da letto (The bedroom, 1984–1988), a two-volume verse novel.

Continue reading this biography

Poems by Attilio Bertolucci

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Parenthood, Death

Poetic Terms Elegy, Free Verse

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.