Listening to the bells

Late nineteenth century, a quarter to twelve, Rome. It’s hot.

A bar in the Trastevere, in front of Santa Maria. A late February Sunday, a quarter to ten in the morning. In the bar there is only a Roman family with two little children, having a breakfast. Orange juice, smell of coffee. Two pictures on the entrance wall, not particularly drawing attention.

Marco, te recordamos.
Eras el viejo amigo,
la plaza, los rumores
de la fuente, el pacífico
sonido de las horas,
el lento, el pensativo
Marco de mirar triste,
tierno y casi perdido,
gruñidor y orgulloso,
a veces, pero digno.
Las noches de verano
eran bellas contigo.
Escuchabas la música
o dormías tranquilo.
Marco, estás con nosotros,
sigues aquí, estas vivo.

Con las campanas de Santa María,
los que no te olvidamos y quisimos
te llamaremos y veremos siempre
en el aire y la luz trasteverinos.
Marco, we’ll remember you.
You were our old friend,
the square itself, the gurgle
of the fountain, the peaceful
sound of the hours,
the slow, the thoughtful
Marco of the sad
and tender and almost lost look,
the grumbling and proud
sometimes, but always decent.
Summer nights
were beautiful with you.
You were listening to music
or tranquilly sleeping.
Marco, you’re with us
still here, alive.

With the bells of the Santa Maria
we, who love you and do not forget you
will always call you and will always see you
in the air and light of the Trastevere.

The image of that morning in Rome and the poem to Marco, also included by Alberti in his Roma, peligro para caminantes (1968) came to my mind as I was reading Ahmatova, translated into Spanish precisely by Alberti and María Teresa León:

Но я предупреждаю вас,
Что живу в последний раз.
Ни ласточкой, ни кленом,
Ни тростником и ни звездой,
Ни родниковою водой,
Ни колокольным звоном -
Не стану я людей смущать
И сны чужие навещать
Неутоленным стоном.
But I warn you
that I live for the last time.
Neither as a swallow, nor as an acer,
neither as a reed nor as a star,
the gurgling water of a fountain
or the sound of the bells –
I will not perturb people
nor confuse others’ dreams
with my unsatisfied moaning.

And each time when I hear the bells around my house, and the sound of the quarters of the town house’s clock, I think that the bells are the last survivors of something that barely exists, or rather the echos of an Atlantis which is all over long ago. And I think that on the day – which will come – when the bells will not ring any more, I will have few interest in staying alive.

2 comentarios:

Julia dijo...

John Donne, Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions, Meditation XVII.

"No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were; any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."

Studiolum dijo...

a good post on those very bells: