Voyages from I to Thou.

Location: Skellig Michel, Ireland

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

from "Mediterranean" (Eugenio Montale)

Ancient one, I’m drunk with the voice
that comes out of your mouths
when they open like green bells,
then implode and dissolve.
You know the house of my long-gone
summers stood by you,
there in the land where the sun bakes
and mosquitoes crowd the air.
Today as then I turn to stone
in your presence, sea,
but no longer feel worthy
of the solemn admonition of you breathing.
It was you who first told me
the petty ferment of my heart was no more
than a moment of yours: that deep in me
was your hazardous law: to be fast
and voracious yet fixed:
and so empty myself of all uncleanliness
like you who toss on the beaches
among cork and seaweed and starfish
the useless rubble of your abyss.

transl. Jonathan Galassi


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