Poetry by Dino Campana

In a moment

In a moment

The roses have faded

The petals have fallen

Because I could not forget the roses

We looked for together

We found some roses

They were her roses they were my roses

This trip we called love

With our blood and with our tears we made the roses

That shined a moment in the morning sun

We faded them under the sun in between the brambles

The roses that were not our roses

My roses her roses


P.S. And like that we forgot the roses

The night

Their shadows slithered along the ruined reddish walls: he followed, robotically. He said to the woman one word that fell in the silence of the afternoon: an old man turned to look at him with a gaze absurd shining and empty. And the woman smiled always a smile feeble in the afternoon aridity, stupid and alone in the catastrophic light.

The windowpane

The evening smoky of summer

From above the windowpane pours out dim light through the shadow

And leaves in my heart an ardent seal,

But who has (on the balcony overlooking the river a lamp turns on) who has

At Madonnina del Ponte who is who is who has turned on a lamp?–there’s

In the room an odor of rottenness: there’s

In the room a languishing red wound.

The stars are buttons made of mother of pearl and the evening dresses herself in velvet:

And the fatuous evening quivers: the evening is fatuous and it quivers but there’s

In the heart of the evening there’s,

Always a languishing red wound.

Oh poem poem poem

Oh poem poem poem

Rise, rise, rise

Up from the electric fever of the nightly pavement.

Unstoppable from the equivocal elastic silhouettes

Darts in the burst and in the sudden scream

Over the monotonous and anonymous shooting

Of voices which tireless like flutes

The perverted whore screams at the intersection

Because the big elegant man stole her little dog

A wanton grasshopper jumps

From one sidewalk to another all green

And galls the core of my bread the metal rasps of the streetcar

Silence–a lightening gesture

Has generated a rain of stars

From one side that bows and collapses under the prestigious hit

In an eye-catching cape of velvety blood

Silence again. Comments dry

And deaf a revolver that announces

And closes another destiny.

Easy poem

I am not looking for peace, I cannot stand war

tranquil and alone I go around the world in a dream

full of suffocated songs. I long for

fog and silence in a grand port.


In a grand port full of slight sails

ready to take off for the azure horizon

sweetly swaying, while the whisper

of the wind passes with brief accords.


And those accords the wind brings

faraway over the unknown sea.

Dream. Life is sad and I am alone.


Oh when oh when in an ardent morning

will my soul awaken in the sun

in the eternal sun, free and quivering.


Dino Campana

Dino Campana (1885-1932) was an innovative Italian poet. His controversial writings are captured in his only published book of poetry, the emotionally intense and visionary Canti Orfici ("Orphic Songs"). The prime Italian example of a poète maudit, Campana battled mental health problems from an early age and spent a great deal of his youth in and out of lunatic asylums and traveling across Europe. An autodidact, he taught himself several languages and became part of the thriving literary scene in Florence. He composed the poems for Canti Orfici sometime between 1906 and 1913, and self-published them in 1914. Shortly after, Campana began a notorious and tumultuous love affair with Sibilla Aleramo, the author of Una donna. In 1918, Campana was admitted to a psychiatric hospital near Florence where he remained until his death in 1932. His remains were given a proper burial in 1946 in a ceremony attended by many Italian intellectuals, including Eugenio Montale and Carlo Bo.

Sonya Gray Redi

Sonya Gray Redi is a writer and filmmaker from San Francisco. Raised in both Italy and California, she has a B.A. in theatre and literature writing from UC-San Diego. Her work has appeared in The Intentional, Bright Wall/Dark Room, Gutfire, Girls Get Busy, Silver Birch Press, and elsewhere.

English translation copyright (c) Sonya Gray Redi, 2016.