Three poems from Canti dell’abbandono

Here and Never Elsewhere

If given energy and the product of the square
of its mass and the trajectory of light…
if given in a perfect and infinite curve
from a closed and finite universe
to the center of a more expansive sphere…
yet I rest amidst the corrupted motion
of the sublunar world,
my head raised in the open air,
the sky upon me as if a wall of glass,
a window, background foreshortened
between the faraway north and the wide
and extended south.
Surely I could take leave, depart, but I would
not be able to find the distance.
I only know this proximate here
and never there and every distance covered
only gives rise to a new distance.
And I am always where I am and never elsewhere,
carrying all that is mine, all that is me,
good and bad.


Spring’s silence
amidst the equinoctial sky
flowers pollinate and a dream passes,
the scirocco returns
and light clothing too.
Ever the same cycle
where the world with some
small differences–
the rains late or early,
a major or minor drought–is always
year to year the same world.
I don’t know how to calibrate my feelings
in response to these earthly rhythms
and seasonal changes in discord
with the uneven flow of my humors.
One day follows another
little by little now hotter, now longer
and I do what I must do–
awaiting the sun
a book the mute face of another
in sparkling summer
the winter of discontent
which still endures in June.


Already I had found it in churches, woods, grottos,
or forged arts in Venetian paintings.
Time escapes from my hands,
I awake as the sea escapes
through two doors.
So as to better seize it
I breathe a little more strongly.
From my thoughts
the night sky escapes.


Carlo Carabba

Carlo Carabba is an Italian poet, essayist, and philosopher born in Rome in 1980. He has published two volumes of poems: Gli anni della pioggia (Rome: PerQuod, 2008), which won the Mondello Prize, and Canti dell'abbandono (Rome: Mondadori, 2011), which won the Carducci and Palmi prizes. He has also published a monograph, La prima traduzione francese del Novum Organum (Rome: Olschki, 2012).

Steve Light

Steve Light, a basketball point guard following upon Nate Archibald, Pete Maravich, and Willie Somerset--and akin as well to Chris Paul, Steve Nash, and Earl Boykins--is also a philosopher and poet. His translations from the Italian and Friulian of Pasolini, Solmi, Saba, and Ungaretti, the French of Jean-Baptiste Para and Alain Suied, and the German of Rilke, have appeared in reviews in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. His translation of French philosopher Jean Grenier's volume of lyrical essays, Les Iles (Islands: Lyrical Essays), appeared in 2005. His own writings have been published in the U.S., Jamaica, Canada, the U.K., Australia, Japan, France, Russia, Turkey, and Italy.

Canti dell'abbandono. Copyright (c) Carlo Carabba, 2011. English translation copyright (c) Steve Light, 2015.