Italian Poetry in translation

The Observatory

by Francesco Dalessandro


In Italian

Books by the same author


Francesco Dalessandro L'osservatorio



Francesco Dalessandro Lezioni di respiro

Lezioni di respiro


Francesco Dalessandro La salvezza

La salvezza


Francesco Dalessandro  Ore dorate

Ore dorate



from L'osservatorio

from Lezioni di respiro




Poems from the book L'osservatorio by Francesco Dalessandro

Translation by Riccardo Duranti

A movable feast, and a little tiredness.

We get out of town early
in the morning, it‚s the thirtyfirst
of May in a flourishing season
when light winds push into our skies
poisonous clouds from unkown places,
entering the northbound motorway
with hearts uplifted
for the holiday we are taking,
a weekend of festive joy to be spent
on a tour with provisional goals that we may
change at our whim, light fancies come along
with us and sweet gorse lining both sides
of the road, faraway farmhouses beyond
the rows of holm-oaks appear to our silent
wandering, meadows of a lost and glowing
green, more winsome green in the reeds
along the banks of the blond river of our
ancestors run out of sight
and serene Soratte with a flight
of brown birds reabsorbed in
the blue sky

a serene day in our life, enchanted
hours already glad in summer light
hot climbing over the mountain
through the road that overlooks the town
up to the last bend that hides it, the quivering
pinewood the belvedere over the quiet drop
revealed only by a watery whisper
over sheer rocks and whitest foam
among green smudges, violet rays
shot against the light where two
grayblue clouds hugged in one
thick body parade over the horizon
and, for a minute, the chaster shadow-light
flickers among the pines with blinding gleams,
while the wind gathers its breath to swish
its cutlass among the trees causing
a brief moment of panic when we sit down
on a bench and eat by ourselves in the deserted
pinewood that tomorrow will be crowded
with holidaying families and casual travellers,
with bleating childish voices, let us then
rejoice and the haughty wind
that with just one blow threads a thousand
needles let us think it the mountain
breathing, a sprinkling that clears
the sky back to serene and the lake
from this angle appears pierced by
the afternoon blue light skimming
and warming up the water that shudders
with sharp reflections at the soft breezes (it‚s here
we would like to come back to when
the sultry August will chase us out
from the city, as though born again to a posthumous
passion sweetened by a late bloom honey
and tired by regret) and on the beach
where boats are tied to a white board pier
and there they float to a sleepy
rhythm someone is enjoying the almost
summery warmth of the sunlight
and against the colourful background,
like a boy lazily at rest leaning on a wall
or a tree, the village quietly takes pride in
the splendour of all that light.

Translated by Riccardo Duranti

Francesco Dalessandro was born in Cagnano Amiterno (Aq) in 1948 and has lived in Rome since 1958. He writes little and has published even less. He doesn’t believe in the poet possessed by god, so he doesn’t carry slips of paper in his pockets, doesn't write lines in the margins of newspapers nor on matchboxes. He prefers to stick to the ease of his tools: a comfortable writing-table, good paper, a tender lead pencil or a thin point felt pen. The lines come later. A first draft by hand is followed by the typing, once done on the typewriter, now on the computer, because he believes the mechanical instrument allows the best visualisation of rhythmic score of the verses. "My nature is to change and change again, and willingly change yet again, as one who is in no hurry", he says quoting an author he holds dearly. His poetics can be synthetized with what Grace Kelly says to James Stewart in “Rear window” by Alfred Hitchcock: "Tell me everything you saw and what you think it means.".

Original book:

Francesco Dalessandro
1989, Pages 32, Euro 7,75

ISBN 978-88-89299-03-6

Francesco Dalessandro L'osservatorio
Edizioni Il Labirinto