A Poem by Eugenio Montale

This verse from Eugenio  Montale’s poem Low Tide was carved into a wall in Monterossa, one of the five villages that comprise Cinque Terra. Kate, our contact at Firebird Tours, kindly found for me the entire poem in translation.  The verse in bold is the one in the photograph.

 

LOW TIDE

 

Evenings of cries, when the swing
rocks in the summerhouse of other days
and a dark vapor barely veils
the sea’s stillness.

Those days, no more. Now swift slanting

flights pass across the wall, the downward plunge
of everything goes on and on, the sheer coast
swallows even the reef that first lifted
you above the waves.
                                                   
With the breath of spring comes
a mournful undertow of lives
engulfed and in the evening,
black bindweed, your memory only
writhes and resists.
It lifts over the embankments, the faraway tunnel
where the train, entering, slowly crawls.
Then, unseen, a lunar flock shows up
and browses on the hills.

 

Translated from Italian by William Arrowsmith
photo credit from about-cinqueterre.com