Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Day 56 Exhibition

We had our exhibit today at the Accademia in Lecce. Shay's and Barbara's paintings were well received, as were Frances' gigantic photos of the magical olive trees she photographed.

There was a huge poster of my 100-word New Page submission, which I read to the assembled guests -- yes, in Italian. Luckily my essay was printed in both English and Italian and I only stumbled once, on the word percepiserro. It too was well received. The director of the Accademia asked me to autograph it and he told me he's going to have it framed and hang it in his office. He said he too has felt this sense of connectedness, of being rooted in this land. It made me very happy to hear him say that because I have a great liking and respect for this big bear of a man, Giancinto Leone.

Here is my 100-word submission to New Page, which will be appearing in store windows along with similar short narratives by other authors all over Lecce. (See blog Day 18 New Page for more information.) For those of you who prefer to read it in Italian -- always sounds better in a Romance language, doesn’t it? -- I have conveniently added the translation immediately below.)

When my bare feet touched this ancient soil,
Quando i miei piedi nudi hanno toccato questa terra antica,
I felt movement deep in the earth.
ho sentito il movimento in profondità nella terra.
I imagined, or perhaps I hoped, the bones of my ancestors
Ho immaginato, o forse speravo, le ossa dei miei antenati
sensed my return and turned toward me in welcome.
percepito il mio ritorno e si girò verso di me in segno di benvenuto.
I had thought the ancients speechless
Avevo pensato gli antichi senza parole
and I without ears for them. But I felt them.
e senza orecchie io per loro. Ma io li sentivo.
I heard their message through my skin:
Ho sentito il loro messaggio attraverso la mia pelle:
In the wind whistling against my ears;
Nel vento che fischiava contro le mie orecchie,
the warm rain pounding on my head and face;
la pioggia che batte caldo sulla mia testa,
the pitiless sun against my milk white skin;
il sole impietoso contro la mia pelle bianco latte,
the sweet taste of earth in my mouth,
il dolce sapore della terra in bocca,
they told me over and over
mi hanno detto nel solo modo
that I belong to them.
che potevano che io apparstengo a loro.

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