[Meriggiare pallido e assorto] - Montale
To rest at noon, pale and absorbed
near a sun-blazed garden wall
to listen amongst the thorns and brakes
to the clatter of blackbirds, rustle of snakes.
In cracks of ground or on the vetch
to spy upon files of red ants
now breaking loose, now interweaving
on the summits of their tiny stacks.
To watch between green leaves the beating
of far away, scales of sea
while the quavering creak arises,
the cicada songs from bald peaks.
And going on into the dazzling sun
to feel with melancholy wonder
how all life and its travail is in
this tracking of a wall
with jagged glass set along its rim.
- Eugenio Montale (translated by Jill Jones)
This version of Montale's famous poem was published in the translation issue of Meanjin, Vol. 64, No. 4, in late 2005.
I should note my thanks to Anny Ballardini for her comments on an earlier version I did of this a couple of years ago which led me to make an important adjustment.