Carlo Diano – Limite azzurro

Carlo Diano, Limite azzurro. All’insegna del Pesce d’oro, Milano 1976

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carlo Diano (Vibo Valentia, 16-2-1902 – Padova, 12 – 12 – 1974), non fu soltanto filosofo tra i più originali del ‘900, grandissimo grecista e filologo, ma fu anche poeta, scultore, pittore e compositore di musica. Una mente traboccante, assetata di bellezza e conoscenza, mai doma, mai paga. Pubblicò una prima raccolta di poesie nel 1933, col titolo L’acqua del tempo, poi, pur seguitando a scrivere poesia, non si interessò più di farne altre pubblicazioni.

Due anni dopo la sua morte, tra le sue carte, furono trovati dei testi, parte dei quali Ninì Oreffice volle fossero pubblicati.  Ninì, il cui cognome di nascita era Ottolenghi, fu una di quelle donne molto speciali, innamorata veramente col cuore dell’arte e della cultura e nel suo salotto padovano passarono i più grandi letterati, intellettuali, poeti e artisti di tutta Europa. Legata per quasi una vita  a Diego Valeri da un’amicizia profondissima, fu lei a tenere a battesimo e a incoraggiare  un giovanissimo Andrea Zanzotto

Per Carlo Diano aveva un’ammirazione e un affetto sconfinati e fu lei a curare la scelta per  questa breve raccolta postuma delle poesie di Diano. La pubblicò nel 1976 Vanni Scheiwiller in 500 copie numerate, con un bellissimo disegno di Alberto Viani che l’artista, amico di Diano e cugino dello storico dell’arte Sergio Bettini, fratello d’anima di Diano, eseguì appositamente per questa raffinata edizione.

I 50 testi, che coprono quasi l’arco della vita di Diano, si aprono con il distico in greco, (che tradusse egli stesso in italiano  e di cui do qui la versione) che Diano scrisse per la devastazione della Piana di Gioia Tauro e si chiudono con tre testi in francese.   Non tutte le poesie sono datate, ma le ultime furono scritte pochi mesi prima della morte, quando Diano era ormai molto malato ma lo spirito e la mente erano lucidissimi e vivi.

I testi che qui riporto vanno dal 1944 alla seconda metà del 1974.  Non aggiungo, volutamente,  alcun commento, perché lascio al lettore, soprattutto a chi conosce il pensiero  filosofico e la straordinaria vicenda umana di Diano, scoprire la ricchezza e l’originalità di questi testi.

Alberto Viani. Nudo. 1976

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ulivi addio

Ora sui nostri monti Demetra cerca piangendo

miseramente il viso della bella Persefone,

ora a terra si sfa l’oliva sotto la pioggia,

suona intorno il vento predatore di foglie.

*********

Per il tuo limite azzurro

dove la luce s’increspa

fiore dell’attimo

apri nel palpito d’ali i tuoi petali

nel cerchio della chiusa forma.

Luglio 1974

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Arso stecchito

squarciato dal fulmine

nudo

mette ancora una gemma:

pallida come una preghiera

domanda al cielo

di poter fiorire.

1974

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Dal punto ov’io siedo

volgendo intorno lo sguardo pigro

partono infinite vie:

nella disperazione di seguirle tutte

contemplo il cielo.

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Sublimi splendono

all’occhio dell’anima

le idee, mirabili immote:

né l’ala del tempo le sfiora,

né flusso di cose le tocca.

D’indicibile amore è preso

l’uomo che una volta le scorga,

né per piacere né per pena l’oblia.

Sempre che d’alcuna oda il nome,

il cuore gli balza come per donna cara.

Nel silenzio che dentro lo vuota,

irresistibile suona come tromba di guerra,

soave come invito di gioia

e solitudine è intorno

e luce di sole gli raggia nell’anima.

Ed ecco egli è pronto e nulla paventa,

né povertà, né calunnia o dolore,

non abbandono di cose amate,

deserto d’affetti, delle tempeste s’inebria,

a te, morte, sorride.

1944

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Qualche cosa che non tornerà.

Ma questo spazio senza fine

nella mia anima – questo è.

Ti sento, vita.

ti porto lieve su ogni fibra,

come ogni zolla il cielo,

gioia senza grido.

Tu – negli occhi sei Tu

negli occhi degli occhi sei Tu

in codesto tuo Nulla Tutto che s’apre,

cielo in un cielo, nel fondo

delle tue pupille, sei Tu.

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Une feuille sur une branche, seule,

la brise la bata de tout coté –

si le vent tombe et qu’il pleut,

demain nous la foulerons aux pieds.

(C) 2012 by Francesca Diano RIPRODUZIONE RISERVATA

Q&A with Francesca Diano on The Wild Geese.com Part 1

I’m greatly indebted to the wonderful people of The Wild Geese website: Maryann Tracy for her constant presence, help and ethusiastic support,  Gerry Regan for his  great help and presence. my special thanks to Belinda Evangelista, who introduced me to The Wild Geese and with her loving presence made all this possible.

FROM: The Wild Geese The history of the Irish worldwide

http://us1.campaign-archive.com/?u=c2de7d833977ba0b4852d9b81&id=b5ce7f0d5f

AND DIRECTLY FROM HELL’S KITCHEN

http://thewildgeeseblog.blogspot.it/2012/04/italians-affair-with-irish-antiquarian.html

An interview to Francesca Diano. 

IRISH MINUTE

Italian’s Affair With Irish Antiquarian:
A Q&A With Writer Francesca Diano 

Writer and teacher Francesca Diano seems likely to be among Italy’s greatest living experts on Irish folklore, with her particular focus on the work of 19th century Irish folklorist Thomas CroftonCroker. She is what one might call in American slang “a chip off the old block,” the daughter of Carlo Diano, a famous philosopher and scholar of ancient Greek and professor at the University of Padua. He had a great influence on her interest in mythology and ancient cultures.

A graduate of Padua University, she lived in London for a time, where she taught courses on Italian art at the Italian Institute of Culture and worked at the Courtauld Institute of Art. In the late 1990s, she lectured in Italian at University College Cork.

A literary translator, having worked for well-known Italian publishers, she has done translations of many famous authors, including Croker. With Irish folklore and oral tradition among her main interests, she was lucky to find one of the few and very rare original copies of the 1825 first edition of Croker’s “Fairy Legends.”

Diano was curator for Collins Press, Cork, of the facsimile edition of “Fairy Legends,” which was released on the bicentenary of Croker’s birth [Editor’s Note: Croker was born at Cork on January 15, 1798]. For the occasion, she was interviewed by The Irish Times about her interest in Croker and Irish folklore. Her Italian translation of Croker’s work was launched at the Irish Embassy in Rome.

She has lectured extensively on art, literature, translation studies and Irish folklore. Her work been published in journals and newspapers. She writes poetry, in Italian and English, short stories and essays, and has served as art critic for some well known Italian artists.

In May, she will present on Irish funeral traditions and keening, a focus of Croker’s, at an international meeting in Tuscany on the 10th anniversary of the death of Italian-English writer and scholar Elémire Zolla.

Diano has her own blog, “Il ramo di corallo” (The Coral Branch) and is a teacher at the Art High School in Padua. The Wild Geese Folklore Producer Maryann Tracy decided to learn more about Diano’s fascinating Irish focus. Here’s what she learned:

The Wild Geese: You mentioned that everything connected to Ireland is a joy for your soul. How did you develop this love of Ireland?

Francesca Diano (left, with her T.C.Croker’s original book): Yes, it’s true. Ireland has this power of attraction and fascinates many people. I suppose this has something to do with its beautiful, intact nature, but also with a special energy radiating from the island. But, as far as I’m concerned, there is much more. It’s a long story, starting in London, in the early 70s, when I lived there for some years. I’m Italian, but although I love my country, since the first time I went to UK, I felt a strange sense of belonging. It was in London that I found this very special book. It all started from it. I’ve always loved fairy tales, myth and legends, and the past. The very distant past, but at the time I didn’t know much about Irish folklore and traditions.

Yet, as soon as I started to read this book, something clicked inside me. Like a faint bell ringing deep inside. I was extremely puzzled, because the anonymous author’s elegant style, encyclopedic culture and the same structure of the work clearly revealed a refined education and a great knowledge of the subject.

I have a very enquiring nature (I love detective stories), and discovering the name of the author was a challenge. At that time, the Internet had yet to come, as well as personal computers, so it was very difficult to do research from abroad. I was back in Italy then and from here I couldn’t find any clue about this work. In fact, in my country it was totally unknown. It took me 15 years to unveil the mystery, but all along those years of research my love for Ireland grew stronger and stronger. It was, you see, like digging for a treasure, or going on a quest, but that country, where I had never been before, didn’t seem unknown at all. It seemed like a place I knew and that was gradually coming back into my life. The time had come for the soul to find its way back to my soul country. That was how I got interested in Irish folklore. It was an act of love. Like if I was just rediscovering a great and long lost love.

The Wild Geese: How did you acquire Croker’s “Fairy Legends”?

Francesca Diano: It was while living in London that, on a late summer afternoon, I met for the first time an Irishman without a name. I was unaware at that time that he would completely change the course of my life.

I met him in an antiquarian bookshop in Hornsey, so the bookseller was actually a go-between. I had befriended the bookseller, and we shared a passion for old books, for things of the past, for the lovely smell of old dusty paper. In that shop I could dig into the past – a past that proved to be my future.

Often, on my way back from the Courtauld Institute, where I worked, I stopped there and he displayed his treasures in front of my adoring eyes — prints and books that rarely I could afford, as he was well aware of their value and he wasn’t very keen on parting with the objects of his love. But he liked me, so, that afternoon, knowing that soon I would return to Italy after my years in London, he went at the back of his bookshop, and after a while he emerged with a little book that he handed me with great care.

“I am sure you will like this very much,” he told me with a knowing smile. He charged me only £3.6. This book is now worth hundreds and hundreds of pounds. I often wonder, thinking of how this book dramatically changed my life, if the bookshop in Hornsey and the bookseller really ever existed, or were they just a fairy trick.

The Wild Geese:  Why is Croker’s work so significant?

Francesca Diano: Thomas Crofton Croker was an incredible man and a unique character. Since he was a young boy, he was fascinated by antiquities and old curiosities, so he started to collect them very early in his life. His family belonged to the Ascendency, but he developed a great interest in old Irish traditions and tales, a subject not at all considered at that time, if not with [disdain]. In his teens, he toured Munster, sketching old ruins and inscriptions, collecting tales and superstitions from the peasantry, noting them down, an interest quite unusual for an Anglo-Irish. Then, on the 23rd of June 1813, he went with one of his friends to the lake of Gougane Barra, to attend a “Pattern,” such was called the festivity of a Patron Saint.

On the little island in the middle of that lake, in the 6thcentury, Saint Finnbarr (or Barra), the patron and founder of Cork, had his hermitage. For centuries, around the lake, Saint John’s Eve was celebrated and a great number of people gathered there, even coming from distant places, to pray, sing, dance, play and feast.
It was on that occasion that Croker heard for the first time a caoineadh,recited by an old woman.  He noted it down and was so impressed, that he decided he would devote himself to collect and write down oral traditions.
Later he went to live and work in London as cartographer for the Admiralty, and in 1824 the publisher John Murray released his first work, Researches in the South of Ireland, a unique collection of observations, documents, descriptions and tales of the places and people, a sort of sentimental journey, so to say. Croker had collected so much of oral tales and traditions that Murray asked him to write a book. So, in 1825, he did, and that was the first collection of oral tales ever published on the British Isles.
 Croker greatly admired the Brothers Grimm, and their work inspired him. In fact, the “Fairy Legends” were translated into German by them that same year, as they acknowledged the great importance of this work, although it was anonymous. Later, they became friends and they even contributed to a later edition of Croker’s legends with a long essay.
The 1825 first edition bears, in fact, no author’s name. This was because Croker had lost the original manuscript, and he asked his friends in Cork to help him in reconstructing it. So, honest and true as he was, in this first edition he only refers to himself, not by name, but as “the compiler.”
This edition was printed in 600 copies and sold out in a week! And Croker became a famous man. The importance of Croker’s work lays in its very modern structure and research method. That is, in the fact that he gives the tales as they were told to him, and all his rich notes and comments are confined at the end of each tale, thus showing great respect for his informants and for the truth. This is why he is regarded as the pioneer of Irish folklore and of folklore research in the British Isles.
The Wild Geese:  What compelled you to translate Croker’s work into Italian?
Francesca Diano: My father was one of the greatest Italian translators of the Greek tragedies, but also of German and Swedish authors. So I can say I breathed the art of translation since I was born. Translating, as I said, is first of all an act of love, that is, knowledge and a way to share this knowledge with others. A way to connect cultures and times.
But I started to translate Croker’s work long before I decided to publish it. It was because I loved it and because I wanted my children to love it with me. I’ve always had the spirit of a storyteller, and I told my children stories every night, at bedtime, for years and years. So, that was the first reason why I translated it. They were its first Italian public. Later I submitted my work to a publisher.
The Wild Geese:  I understand that you just completed your first novel. Tell me about it.
Francesca Diano: Yes, after more than seven revisions in the course of some years, I eventually resolved it was time to print my novel. I’m an obsessive editor! “The White Witch” (“La Strega Bianca” in Italian) is, as according to the subtitle, an Irish story, set mainly in Ireland and partly in Italy. It came first as short story I wrote while living in Ireland, which later developed into a novel.
Sofia, the main character of the story, sets on a long journey through Ireland on a very special quest, a mystery to be unravelled. There is also a love story that belongs to another life and a surprising encounter with a woman, who is both a witch and a psychic — the White Witch. She will help to lift the veil hiding Sofia’s past.
The beauty and magic of the island reveal to Sofia the power of the feminine, the healing power of the Great Mother Goddess, as a means of a total transformation.
Sofia’s is a journey through time and space, paralleled by a journey inside her. …
 While meeting the various characters in her new homeland, Sofia recalls people and events of her life, and all the things that were before unclear and confused. These will now acquire a new meaning and place through the unexpected events of her new life.
Cork, Cobh, Dublin, Monkstown, the Killarney lakes, Glandore, the National Museum, are all for Sofia places of learning and discovery. Each one of them is a center. In Ireland, Sofia will find the mother she never had. WG

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To my soul – a poem by Francesca Diano

The Goddess Sarasvati – Mysore Painting

 

TO MY SOUL

 

I felt ashamed – so they taught me to –

No bound  no tie

Shame is a knife

Feeding on your dreams and flesh

Separating the I from others’ eyes –

Like egg yolk from its white.

It makes you invisible –

Yet boundless – so easy then to melt away

And float over the world

Suspended in a silent cry

Embedded in a river of black stars.

 

It’s you – my Soul – I’m calling – soul and mother

The only generation I can conceive

Dark origin of a brooding life.

A womb so universal that no birth

Is needed to be born – to see the light.

Black is the colour of light

And darkness is its prize.

 

Two flowers – one in each hand

On a deep blue cloth

She handed me – in smiling stillness

Both I took to fill the gap between

Me and my words

And suddenly the rage became an ocean

A pouring ocean of words.

They ignited worlds hidden in darkness

Set life afire – painted grey walls

With flashing colours – so that no blackness

Was black any more.

She – the Ruler – the Still One.

 

(C)2006 by Francesca Diano ALL RIGHTS RESERVED