By Attilio Bertolucci 1911–2000 Attilio Bertolucci

Translated from the Italian by Geoffrey Brock Read the translator's notes

This is a year of poppies: our land
was brimming with them as May burned
into June and I returned—
a sweet dark wine that made me drunk.

From clouds of mulberry to grains to grasses
ripeness was all, in the fitting
heat, in the slow drowsiness spreading
through the universe of green.

My life half over I saw grown sons
setting off alone and vanishing from sight
beyond the prison the flight
of the swallow makes in the spent

glow of a stormy evening, but the pain
gave way humanely to the light
coming on inside the house for another meal
in air made cooler by hail

letting off steam in the distance.

Source: Poetry (December 2010).


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

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December 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.

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Poems by Attilio Bertolucci

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Growing Old, Nature

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