Two poems


What peace
between the folds
of her old black dress, grimy
from blowing into the fire,
peace always
as long as her head
covered my own
with whitened hair.

 Translated by Richard Burns


The memory is dear to me
like the often too short
meals of my hungry childhood.
From hardened hands yellow flour
into boiling water
while the fire
crackling on the stones
tickled the laughter
from my eyes tearful with smoke.

 Translated by Peter Jay and Linda Lappin

by Aldo Vianello

from Selected Poems by Aldo Vianello. Translations by Richard Burns, Peter Jay, and Linda Lappin.

Aldo Vianello is a little-known poet from Venice, now in his early seventies. He has never been abroad; his work is firmly rooted in the city he has loved all his life. His poems are mostly quite short, so I have given two which are connected as they both reflect his childhood and focus on his mother. The second shows how his mainly straightforward style can be suddenly sharpened by a twist of syntax – here, the omission in line 4 of words to the effect of “she poured”, which quicken and dramatize the image.

Vianello’s first English selection, Time of a Flower, translated by Richard Burns, was Anvil’s first publication in 1968. His new, bilingual Selected Poems, with additional translations by Peter Jay and Linda Lappin, appeared in 2008 as part of Anvil’s 40th anniversary celebration.

Anvil Press Poetry was founded in 1968 and publishes English-language poetry and poetry in translation, both classic and modern.