Strada di Agrigento – 1938 Poem by Salvatore Quasimodo

There a wind remains that I recall afire
within the manes of horses as they slanted
their way across the planes, a wind that chafes
the sandstone and erodes the very hearts
of derelict caryatids cast down
Onto the grass. Soul of antiquity
Gone gray with age and rage, turn back and lean
into that wind, breathe of the delicate moss
clothing those giants tumbled out of heaven.
How lonely what is left to you must be!
And worse: to break your heart to hear once more
that sound resound and dwindle out to sea
where Hesperus already streaks the dawn:
a sad jew’s-harp reverberating through
the throat of that lone cartman as he slowly
ascends his moon-cleansed hill again through dark
murmurings of the Moorish olive trees.

Translated by A.Z. Foreman