Still Life
(Translated by John Deane, Paul Giordano, Pietro Federico)

 

EARTH

 

Still Life

From the great darkness
of outstretched time
before humankind
there burst forth
a diversity of forms
classes and species,
and from that point forward
it continued without cease
through a multiplicity of faces
in the same way
and under many varying aspects
in the persistent returning
of catastrophic events
violent and destructive
calamities, infections, epidemics,
not counting
finally the exception
of massacres and killings...
the simple daily calculation
leaves us ever more astonished
in the effort to understand
just how much death
life is in need of
to blossom forth.

 

Earth

Earth that swallows down
whatever is:
cities nations empires.

Earth crammed full
of bodies
it has devoured.

Earth that spits forth
erupts thrusts
coarse and turbulent.

Earth exfoliated
that drowns
and inundates.

Earth that from
disorder and degradation
brings forth its strength.

Earth in labour
constructive and destructive
without end.

 

 

PRELIMINARY

 

Which language to search

Fiction only,
imagination
– among the others to fix it firmly
also a principle
of the founding ideas,
phenomenology,
as moreover the first
in fullness already 
the antiquity of sages
names, distinguises –
is the vibrant spring
from which the knowledge
of the few truths
of the great reality
that are those eternal ones
from the creative vein
bears nourishment
entrusting itself to the allusive-
evocative way
of symbol
and of allegory.

 

The network of the name

Rises up from the depth
overflows the word
to break through silence
and to announce to the world
what it’s waiting for
even in absence,
what fluctuates
in its more indistinct advancing
still there without
shape or contours
and which suddenly comes to a stop
from being on the cusp
makes itself alive from colorless,
takes responsibility and circumscribes
as subject matter
of its container
inside the network of the name.

 

Naming

Naming calls out
and, yes, in calling out
see the one approaching
inviting the one who calls
to become essence
summoning it
into its presence.
This is the reason
that language becomes 
aimed at explaining
even feeling
and emotion,
inner music
that rises up from underneath
and consigning itself
to the material impact
of the precipitous
wavering sonorous waves
and talks while they collide,
to subdue it,
with the resistance of things.

 

The dream of non-contradiction

Dreams the reason
a coherence of the real
that by competing
turn and turn about
with the presumed
effect of the reason
of separation in division
unconsciously drowns
within the illusion
every truth,
in the lack of awareness
that the spring of all things
is on the other hand contradiction
within unity.

 

Necessity of paradox

And to give account
of a multifaceted reality
hybrid and contradictory
stratified in the embrace
of good and evil
of more and of less
made of vacuum
that becomes full,
and that stitches though by shreds
and opens out the joining parts,
that reproduces life
always and only by dying...
the pure
conceptual logic
serves little or nothing
by unfurling,
eventually the simulated gesture
the flluctuating symbol
the ambivalent paradox
might signify.

 

Universal categories?

It happens that the mind
has recourse to order
to bring back
to the universal given
every kind of detail
and single particular
in an effort to organize
precisely in the totals
of every categorical idea
the vast and hybrid sea
of undifferentiated
singular-plural.

 

The human gaze

The human gaze
by its very nature
unnatural,
in so much as it runs
at ground level,
from the here and now
it has suddenly distanced itself
brims over and spills
bounces with the reflection
of the light
nothing stops it
or closes with its protection,
nor does pitch darkness
turns it off,
resists feeding itself
on what emerges
from the deep , and feels
itself a stranger. . .
the somewhere else, the sky...
the transcendent.

 

The word

The word,
has long filaments
briars and black beards
that are fishing
in the womb of time
through the slime and mire
of that visceral mud
which has given
breath and musical body
to unknown things
thus calling again
as if outside themselves
into the cadenced rhythm
of that whole entirety
which is overflowing
liquid fire erupted
inside each and every
single entity.

 

Towards the sky

From being a thinking being
there is presented to you as evidence
of your conscience
all the vacuum
that separates you out
from the rest of the world
and it is thought
that makes you a stranger,
it is its path
to haul you up on high
and from that leap
flung towards the sky
that immediately seizes you
there is no more returning
with your feet on the ground.

 

The last room

The last room
is precisely that:
from the vacuum of silence,
from the whole
which is hammered
into nothingness
and from the transcendent encounter
with total otherness,
real absent life
and antimatter
which is a mould
and imprint
of not-being
to every living
full and consistent.

 

The voice of silence

It is from silence
that the call comes,
dispersed first
and drowned in the din,
unheard:
the voice crying
not talking
in the desert
and giving name
to what is absent
remodels in words the evoked
essence and meanwhile
sucked up again
from dairy borders
of solid nothingness
reconsigning soon
contours form
and consistency
to the existing being.

 

Against rigidity

And, if in time
mind created
an ideal type
that was all art,
was falsehood
and arbitrary
to exercise for us
its hypothetical mandate.
Does not absolutely change
that which has been
but counts just
because already changed...
Elastic
point of view
open to the unexpected.

 

Thirst

Only in the arms
of life being reborn
is thirst quenched
by an answer to the dark of mystery,
delivered from themselves
to the pain and the desire
of a void never filled
really full,
consumed in the depth
of the crudest fever
of an undefined value,
touched and barely
perceived, moved
in its absolute being
willed and pursued
with all the tension
of the plunge already taken
but not yet completed
to give back fire in the meantime
to vital energy
before it is burned up,
dissolved and blown away
incinerated, not to be
regenerated in itself.

 

Art as language?

Art is language
that to the object
binds the sign
in an original report
of re-cognition?
…is the translator 
of the chaos that surrounds
the things of life
(the bones, the flesh and the breath
the void and the full
the mould and the cast)
the entire team of the world.
Nothing static
or decorative
or nostalgic, hoewer...
the rising brim
soaks and swells,
the germinal broth.

 

Theoretical or practical activity?

But it became clear
that it was not worth
the distinction between the forms:
breath and solid body
matter and non-matter
(what lapses
while fleeing away)
intellective principle
and thrust of the deep:
result – all – of energy.
Concrete and abstract
are born together 
as dream and reality
loss and conquering
fear and courage
slowly and at a run
darkness black and seen…
for the symbolist man.

 

Working hypothesis

Imitation:
through similarities
to attract the still unknown,
to give pronunciation
to the invisible
(the imagined name
of the thing) 

Expression:
through manifest signs
on the borders of night
from the indistinct
to leap out
(that all surfaces
from mud and blood) 

Representation:
to the liquid thought
to give solid boundaries
in organized forms
and musical scores – style –
(earth loam and dark
becomes subtle music)

 

(Translated by John Deane)

 

 

QUESTIONS

 

The cry of silence

What is the most
silent colour
in the cry of silence?
The karst hue,
the nuclear cosmos
the echo, the mould
of huge void
which, in appearance
of its most
compact matter
life like a dream 
in war and peace
ripped but compressed
distracted in its
being welded
as unity in detachment,
is made of?


  

The soul of the world

Through what kind of crack
gorge burrow hole  
tear or cut
turning on again the sound
lost by hearing?
from which edge
of the infinite
ever regaining to taste
and eye and nose and touch,
in the cone of shadow
on the backstage
inside the deep,
the archetype matrix
the soul of the world?

 

The farther strip

Among cubes, pyramids,
cylinders...
large volumes
and thread-like forms,
where to trigger
a click from the dark
so that the unexpected
flash
can explode?
yes, the annunciation
of the route leading
to never forgotten  
farther strip,
through the eternal state
dispersed inside living
and fragmented
from seeing?

 

The shape of the world

Beyond deception
and appearance,
beyond the false and recognizable
shape of the world,
within the most
concrete abstraction
of things and forms
with its upsetting
dazzle,
how can we remove
the blanket,
how can we mend
the cut in the end?

 

Things

What will things do
when they slip
out of our view
we lose control and
over them?
Do they burden
themselves expecting
to be raised again
or remain contracted
in watchful defence?
Do they wait for days
nailed down in silence
for our grasp to return
and revitalize them?
Shall we only
think of them
and, maybe by itself,
our thought
becomes a tyrant
ready to cancel
their freedom?

 

The light

Is it the faint
but pointed light
which sewing the mouth
unstitches the eyes,
so that the forked
tongue
swells and stops
in silence?
The eye faintly touches
and breaks through,
pulling and mixing
wave by wave
the fluid reality
which drifts away
and in movement
remains iridescent
and almost dissolves?

 

The old new

Does the old become new
once more
through the signs of warp
on the canvas?
Light that pierces the dark
without driving it out
with its grasp
from its favourite state
of beloved and provident
twilight
while starting it
on the path?
Life living
lying in mystery…

 

The trail

Where does all
we have been
– unaware –
before we found
ourselves born
come from?
The dark trail
just drawn there,
towards the goal,
by a secret hand...
the slight breeze
in short motion
touching at once
has brought it to life
pulling up its veil,
but only in part,
without revealing
while unveiling...

 

The present

Who are the ones
bravely waiting for
dream and desire
expectation and hope
imagining
every virtue
of coinciding absolute
finally to come
and free them
giving back to the being
its unique and eternal
substance
of present?

 

(translated by Paul Giordano)

 

 

ABOUT TIME

  
1.

It’s a mane of flame
forever eating its tail,
its pace is outstretched and strained.
It’s hard and rare.
It’s a stone thrown aloof
an arrow vanishing aloft,
beyond the roof.

It’s the track race delayed,
and yet not begun, the impulse
of a side that slides on the other
and their flowing on and under,
every night, every day,
in the shell where it collapses and turns,
composes and melts like clay,
and like clay it seals and breaks.

 

In it we trust, it won’t forsake us,
the wall won’t fall
between the seeker
and whom he’s looking for,
nor between the lover
and his love.

 

2.

Between “yes” and “of course”
what is the difference?

Between darkness and transparence
between huge and small

between half and whole...
Vagueness and confusion

contain each other
as a whole

hot and cold
can’t overthrow each other

in the riverbed of the world
in its inflamed belly

in the most intense incandescence.
Light and darkness

impartially split
the field.

 

3.

What is emptied
and isn’t exhausted

like what lasts
because is not for itself:

to leave yourself
to save yourself

to get beyond yourself
to get all of yourself.

The inaudible, the untouchable,
the invisible:

from here come the hearing
the touch, the sight

and it’s in shaping
a negation

that their consistence
can be established.

The eternal root of the beginning
moves from zero.

 

4.

Time is endless,
immeasurable,

and it doesn’t matter
what its way is

its track
is solely reflected

on the mirrors of hours
and seasons

as what changes while it lasts
and has

its end and its beginning
in itself

in the circle it enters
and repeats.

 

5

The shapeless shape
its pure extension

the sign of the journey
while it’s going on

the figureless figure:
the emptiness’ soul.

The appearance is something mutilated
fractured and such as

if arrested while it is being fractured
it remains isolated

pure appearance,
and nothing lasts on end.

 

6.

No matter the aspect and the effect
no matter the plot
no matter the kind of path you find

nothing new happens and yet
everything’s new compared with what
is in the never ending past you leave behind.

 

7.

A whirlwind doesn’t last
a morning

neither the rain ever lasts
all the day

the dark walks in circle
from light to light

it cuts the nature and then
it sews its bottom again...

intermittence is the real pace
that the world keeps and embrace.

 

8.

It blends and kneads
itself in your veins and in your heart

but it keeps nothing but
a strip of its future part,

it scatters,
causes many effects...

what is small
contains the large:

the whole idea lies
in the outline

the minimal holds
the immense, the ephemeral

carries the eternal, and the creature
hosts its creator.

 

9.

It is what too much height
hides from us

a shoreless sea
pure daylight

the lost measure
of the intact horizon

its waves spreading around
closer and closer

it is what changes and lasts,
boundless, unchanged.

 

10.

It is what adapts
to every form

and takes it measure,
it is the sense of the eternal

as the water
that fits in its content

and there is nothing
whose shape it can’t take

it conforms to everything
to every internal stitch

it is the total unwearable fullness
core, base and pivot.

 

11.

The emptiness is
the farthest limit, in size,

the calculated count
on the edge of zero’s

the number grown
out of nothing

the thread threading itself
and drawing out of the frame

never exhausting
its unchanged spring:

emptiness is the root
of heaven and earth.

 

12.

Weight is the matrix,
the meeting of the light

motion is the root
of quiet

half is the frame
of the whole

as the empty
is the vase’s true usefulness

time is the meaning
and the rhythm of chance

and chance is a name
for necessity.

 

(Translated by Pietro Federico)

 

 

 

 


  Paolo Ruffilli Mail: paolo.ruffilli@alice.it