Saturday, 9 January 2016

He Was Called - Giuseppe Ungaretti

He was called
Moammed Sceab
descended
from emirs from nomads
suicidal
because he no longer had
a country
He loved France
and changed his name

He was Marcel
but not French
and no longer knew
how to live
far from that tent of his
where you heard the chant
of the Koran
as you drank coffee

And did not know how
to utter
the song
of his exile

I accompanied him
with the woman who owned the hotel
where we lived
in Paris
from number 5 Rue des Carmes
down the shrunken alley.

He rests
in the cemetery of Ivry
a suburb that always
seems
frozen on some day
where a fair
has been disassembled.

And perhaps I alone
still know
that he lived

Giuseppe Ungaretti (1888-1970) Italy
Translated by A.S. Kline

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