Meanwhile, the world spins madly on.

In the Morning You Always Come Back
Cesare Pavese

Dawn’s faint breath
breathes with your mouth
at the ends of empty streets.
Gray light your eyes,
sweet drops of dawn
on dark hills.
Your steps and breath
like the wind of dawn
smother houses.
The city shudders,
Stones exhale—
you are life, an awakening.

Star lost
in the light of dawn,
trill of the breeze,
warmth, breath—
the night is done.

You are light and morning.

This poem was written by Pavese for his lover, Constance Dowling, an American actress.

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Rain, lovely rain. I am in bed ill and happy at these small favours.

Two Poems for T.
Cesare Pavese
translated by Geoffrey Brock

The plants of the lake
saw you one morning.
The stones the goats the sweat
exist outside of days
like the water of the lake.
The lake remains unmarked
by the days’ pain and clamor.
The mornings will pass,
the anguish will pass,
other stones and sweat
will bite into your blood—
it won’t always be like this.
You’ll rediscover something.
Another morning will come
when, beyond the clamor,
you’ll be alone on the lake.

You also are love.
Made of blood and earth
like the others. You walk
like one who won’t stray far
from your own front door.
You watch like one who waits
and doesn’t see. You are earth
that aches and keeps silent.
You have bursts and lapses,
you have words — you walk
and wait. Your blood
is love — that’s all.

I have a headache the size of the ocean. No regrets, and the cup of pencils I threw across my shoulder in a fit of sweeping rage was worth it. Some things I learned last night: the world doesn’t stop, not ever. Not even for this. I only wished it would, but I don’t hold it in my hands. Loneliness sweeps through the body at any given time. It will leave only when it is done.

I do not have the strength to talk about it any more, so maybe I won’t. I can’t move on, not just yet, but the crying is done. The crying is done.

“And then we cowards”
Cesare Pavese

And then we cowards
who loved the whispering
evening, the houses,
the paths by the river,
the dirty red lights
of those places, the sweet
soundless sorrow—
we reached our hands out
toward the living chain
in silence, but our heart
startled us with blood,
and no more sweetness then,
no more losing ourselves
on the path by the river—
no longer slaves, we knew
we were alone and alive.