Italian Poetry in translation

Garden of Delights and other Vanitas

by Gianfranco Palmery


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Gianfranco Palmery

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In Italian




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Garden of Delights and other Vanitas
Gianfranco Palmery Giardino di delizie e altre vanità

Poems from the book Giardino di delizie e altre vanità by Gianfranco Palmery

Translation by Barbara Carle



A relic from the sky, dripping
celestial water: this is why we have lifted it
from the ground, truncated branch
at the foot of the oak, after the rapid
storm, when we came out of warm rooms:
dense with soaked leaves and tomorrow
dry or rotten, now on the table
the knotty shoot shimmers among
other fatuous splendors severed by human
hands: narcissus, anemones, violets,
nasturtiums: slices of earth and sky here
reunited to decorate for us and say—what?
An oak has lost a limb; a spider
its shade, shelter, which it cannot yet
renounce and running as though maddened
it still seeks the debris that no longer
possesses breath—yet it's not mere matter
that will rot: lustrous trophy and contorted
crown to the fallen and to itself: docile
model for this still life.



Sitting in the sun, mirroring each others
resigned undoing, they ignore each other
pretending they aren't there, eyelids
unfurled banners declaring
surrender or absence: thus they pass
long mornings, old people on their mechanized
ramshackle vehicles, like weary plucked
seagulls on rusty watersheds
who advance on the lake roosting:
proud octogenarians still holding together
the ruins of their body or bodies
crumbling beneath the weight of ninety years:
exhausted arteries, tremulous, poor wings limbs
falling again from those turbid bundles
and the mouth wide open, rank
obscure wound from which
unbearable life exhales its
last slow breaths of wind

(Translations by Barbara Carle)


Original Book

Gianfranco Palmery
Giardino di delizie e altre vanità
With eight drawings by the author
1999 Pages 112 Euro 12,00

ISBN 978-88-89299-20-3

Gianfranco Palmery Giardino di delizie e altre vanità

Reviews of Garden of Delights (in Italian language)

Edizioni Il Labirinto