958. Landscape VI, by Cesare Pavese

Today's the day the fog lifts from the river
in the beautiful city among its fields and hills,
blurring it like a memory. The haze fuses
every green thing, but women in lively colors still
go strolling by. They pass in that white penumbra,
smiling: anything can happen on the street.
At times the air intoxicates.

________________________The morning
will suddenly open wide on a spacious silence,
muffling every voice. Even the tramp,
who has no home, no city, drinks in that air, inhaling it
like a glass of grappa on an empty stomach.
Whether you're hungry or have been betrayed by the sweetest
mouth, it's worth your while just to go walking in that air,
feeling your faintest memories quicken as you breathe.

In that fog every street, every simple corner of a house
keeps a shiver from the past, an old trembling.
Once you feel it, you never forget it. You can't give up
your calm intoxication, made of things that come
from your germinating years, discovered by meeting
a house, a tree, an unexpected thought.
Even the workhorses plodding down the street
in the dawn fog will speak to you of then.

Or maybe a boy who ran away from home comes
home today – today when the fog lifts
across the whole river, and he forgets his whole life –
the hardships and the hunger and the broken promises –
as he stops at a corner to drink the morning air.
It's worth your while, coming home, even though you've changed.

(trans William Arrowsmith)

Source: Hard Labor

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