Days full of caves and tigers

If the branch caught among the boulders reached us
after a rough and stormy passage,
and you retrieve it
like a hunting trophy, to paint
in red and yellow,
colours of the tiger and the dragon;
if the stone’s flat surface
tells a story of grey
wolf skin
or of shipwreck on the shores
of the Lugano Sea, which they wrongly claim
to be a lake;
if really my intention was to write something else
about you that seemed so crystal clear,
but even in my mind
you manage to confuse it, and you are never
sensible and good as gold; it must mean
the world is more jazzy and exciting,
the nights long with shouting
and the days full of caves and tigers,
where great courage is needed to enter
in quest of golden bough or sparkling
gemstone, amethyst or tourmaline.

by Fabio Pusterla

‘Days full of caves and tigers’ by Fabio Pusterla, translated by Simon Knight, is copyright © Fabio Pusterla, 2012. It is reprinted by permission of Arc Publications from Days Full of Caves and Tigers (Arc Publications, 2012).

Notes from Arc Publications:

Fabio Pusterla (b. 1957) is of mixed Swiss / Italian parentage, teaches Italian literature at the cantonal high school in Lugano, and lives just across the border on the Italian shore of Lake Lugano (Lago di Ceresio) in one of the villages of the Valsolda. A poet, translator, essayist and scholar, he contributes to many Italian, Swiss and French literary periodicals. The collection Days Full of Caves and Tigers is drawn from six books which span Pusterla’s poetic career from 1985 to 2011. You can read ‘Deposition’, another poem from the book, on Arc’s site, and get an insight into the translation process by reading an interview with Simon Knight on the Arc blog.

Since it was founded in 1969, Arc Publications has adhered to its fundamental principles – to introduce the best of new talent to a UK readership, including voices from overseas that would otherwise remain unheard in this country, and to remain at the cutting edge of contemporary poetry. Arc also has a music imprint, Arc Music, for the publication of books about music and musicians. As well as its page on Facebook, you can find Arc on Twitter. Visit Arc’s website to join the publisher’s mailing list, and to find full details of all publications and writers. Arc offers a 10% discount on all books purchased from the website (except Collectors’ Corner titles). Postage and packing is free within the UK.

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