To Loll at Midday, Pale and Pensive
(Meriggiare pallido e assorto - Eugenio Montale 1916) - Translation Dia Tsung
To loll around at midday, pale and pensive
by a scorching garden wall and listen
in the thorn brake to the blackbird’s
noisy hustle and the snake’s rustle.
To gaze upon the cracked ground,
watching the red ants entwining and lining
up amongst the vetch, and twisting back
and crowding the summits of their minute stacks.
To look through the leaves at the sea’s
scaly surface distantly pulsing
while the cicada’s shrill quavering cry spills
and rebounds off the stripped and naked hills.
Emerging then into the dazzling flash
to feel with dismal wonderment there
how all of life and its enduring care
is found within this trudging ambit of a wall
rimmed with the shards of broken bottle glass.
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