“December Dawn” by Piero Bigongiari

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December Dawn,” by Piero Bigongiari (translated by I.L. Salomon) appeared in the Summer 1975 issue of MQR.


Eye, a stone become blood,
late from the eye of God,
plummets bird-like on the riverbed.
Does it pierce the light or create it? What does it expect
in its falling–from its falling? Perhaps
it sees something, searches for something in sleep among the
disturbed by its arrival, poor river-flowers, rust-colored umbels
under a dream-rain that foresees the future.

It is a dawn-dream, surely … Suddenly there emerges
a mortar-covered goblin, a bricklayer;
slightly further on, houses, shadows
–a faded patch of sun–
tightly huddled together, a dried-up walnut,
hull no longer damp tremble expectantly;
Here below a boat creaks, from the city’s crevices
a dark purple haze of bells explodes
as from an underground brawl suddenly brought out into the
open, and tenderly stretching out your hand to me
you say–it’s time to go.
It’s time to leave this branch
that trembles and rustles in its nocturnal death.

Open your wings, bird of the cold, see the riverbed
stretch beneath you, see the dried-up
mud, the shuffling fishermen dawdling;
it is time to liberate the seeds
entrusted to death, time to commit them to flight.


Image: Monet, Claude. “Ice Floes.” 1893. Oil on canvas. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

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