Issue 108, Fall 1988
The wind runs free across our plains,
The live sea beats forever at our beaches.
Man makes earth fertile, earth gives him flowers and fruits.
He lives in toil and joy, he hopes, fears, begets sweet offspring.
… And you have come, our precious enemy,
Forsaken creature, man ringed by death.
What can you say now, before our assembly?
Will you swear by a god? What god?
Will you leap happily into the grave?
Or will you at the end, like the industrious man
Whose life was too brief for his long art,
Lament your sorry work unfinished,
The thirteen million still alive?
Oh son of death, we do not wish you death.
May you live longer than anyone ever lived.
May you live sleepless five million nights,
And may you be visited each night by the suffering of everyone who saw,
Shutting behind him, the door that blocked the way back,
Saw it grow dark around him, the air fill with death.
— translated from the Italian by Ruth Feldman and Brian Swann