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Last Dream

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Out of a motionless infernal
shudder and clang of steel on steel
as wagons moved toward the eternal,
a sudden silence: I was healed.

The stormcloud of my sickness fled
on a breath. A flickering of eyes,
and I saw my mother by my bed
and gazed at her without surprise.

Free! Helpless, yes, to move the hands
clasped on my chest—but I had no
desire to move. The rustling sounds
(like cypress trees, like streams that flow

across vast prairies seeking seas
that don’t exist) were thin, insistent:
I followed after those vain sighs,
ever the same, ever more distant.


Source: Poetry (December 2010)

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

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Last Dream

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  • Giovanni Pascoli (1855-1912) was arguably the greatest Italian poet writing at the beginning of the twentieth century. While certainly no Modernist, his almost imagistic focus on piccole cose (small things) and his scaling back of the era’s grandiose language and rhetoric both contributed to the modernization of Italian poetry.

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