IN THE DEATH OF ONE

di William Grosvenor Congdon (1912-1998)

Capracotta was a skiing resort, once;

cold grey and clear blue mountains,

snow across the Sangro

and from over there -

beginning in those villages on the other mountains

and extending along all the peaks that we could see,

and then on, for interminable miles into the heart of Europe

were Germans, Festung Europa.

Over there lay the dark continent,

solution forced by slavery

waiting like Michaelangelo's Adam

for the gap of lifelessness to be closed.

The idea alone sustained them

and it would have to continue to:

for here in Capracotta, where liberation was,

among the rubble gather like a sack of sticks a man,

stretched, seamed, unproportionate man,

flesh that must have lived too long,

not so much flesh as a memory.

Putrescent, persistence of matter

can absorb the wounds but never heal.

  • W. G. Congdon, In the Death of One, in «Italian Poetry Review», VI:2011, Società Ed. Fiorentina, Firenze 2013, p. 220.

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