Poesia inedita, Read in english

Three poems by Arianna Dagnino


In Spite of My Brilliant Brain (for Hannah Arendt)

An inconvenient woman
in inconvenient times, I grew up
with men falling under my charm,
the depths of my exotic gaze, they’d say,
rivalling the reaches of my mind.

The first time Herr Professor
pressed his mouth against
my lips, I felt like a leaf
in the raging wind of History.

Yet, each time he groped my breasts
with veneration, each time he thrust
his raider’s rod between my thighs,
I would demand free access
to his throbbing mind.

Trained in will to power, I bloomed
into a scandalous Jewish flower, while
even my most secret lover fell prey
to the hubris of Nazi power.

I left Martin to his wife,the children,
the Aryan hate, turned myself into
a recalcitrant femme fatale –
scathing, defiant, cérébrale.

Across an ocean, others
flew to my honey, the eroticism
of an unconventional mind.
But I didn’t forget my despicable
professor – his sun uneclipsed,
my tears preserved unspilled.

Until, years later, I found him anew,
the cottage, the wife, the darkest wood.
Again, he stood behind a lectern,
again piercing into my heart.

And I… I could no longer deny
the unutterable truth: whether
butterfly or moth, I was still trapped
in the glasshouse of his mind.

In spite of my brilliant brain,
my tongue – razor-sharp, with no restraint –
I could only truly exist in that native embrace,
that rotten love of my disgrace.

War Piano

It’s just you left here – 
object out of tune – counting up
scraps of life, blunt pencils,
rubbed off notes on unfinished scores.
The day declines leaving
no trace. Ghost trains march
on the tracks of discord, the lark 
no longer daring to soar.
Eastern winds rage 
across the waste land. 
Hail beats down 
with shrapnel sound. 
The soldier seeking refuge feels you out,
tries a few rough notes, entranced
by the woman’s evoked scent,
the waves of grass, the hidden call.
And it is pain, pain that shatters
you in the storm, 
with the banging shell-shock 
of a mutilated dawn.

She watches her children

in the dull enclosure 
of a city playground.
Blankly she stares, 
blank the lines are left.
In the fullness of motherhood, 
the vein has drained,
tears no longer filling 
her fountain pen.
Back and forth the swing goes, 
rewinding time’s hidden tape –
an attic of her own,
a scorching olive grove.
The pleasure devoured
in a secret hour.
Music that comes and goes,
but no longer flows.

You can read them in italian by clicking here

Arianna Dagnino teaches as a Sessional Lecturer in the Italian Studies program at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and is the Cultural Events Coordinator of the Dante Alighieri Society of BC. She is a Member of the Writers’ Union of Canada, the Literary Translators’ Association of Canada and the Society of Translators and Interpreters of BC (STIBC).

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