Sicilian Poetry


Petru Fudduni (16?? - 1670)

Petru Fudduni Petru Fudduni, as he preferred being called, was born Pietro Fullone in Palermo and was very popular during his lifetime. Although his date of birth is unknown we know that he died on March 22, 1670. He is mentioned by Giuseppe Cucchiara in Folklore Italiano, and by Giuseppe Pitrè in volume 3 of the Biblioteca Siciliana. A list of his works is also found in Mira's Dizionario Bibliografico Siciliano. These examples were taken from "Petru Fudduni: Puisì e Cuntrasti in Sicilianu", Illustrazioni di Mario Viola, Reprint s.a.s., 86 pp., Palermo.

The word "fudduni" has a number of meanings. It can refer to the footprint that beasts of burden leave, or used as "granciu fudduni" it means a mistake, or it can mean to rush along without consideration of others. According to Piccitto it can also mean a pit or a hole: narrow, mean or petty; a pigsty; a round skin lesion from an allergy to fave; or a crab. Beyond national pride, I suspect that Petru Fudduni enjoyed the whimsy associated with the various meanings of the Sicilian version of his name.

Voli spiari lu misteru di la Santa Trinitati:

An Explanation of the Mystery Of The
Holy Trinity:

Pigghia lu cchiù gran specchiu chi ci sia
Sia di cristallu finu, e sia nà massa
Tu guardi ad iddu, ed iddu guarda a ti:
Vidi cà l'umbra tò, dintra ci passa
Tu t'alluntani, ed iddu cancia via
Lu specchiu senza macula si lassa
Cussi fu Cristu, nventri di Maria
Si ncarna, nasci, e virgini la lassa

Take the biggest mirror you can find
Whether it be fine crystal or plain glass
Look at it, and it looks at you:
Notice how your image enters within
Move away, and it is gone
The mirror is left without blemish
This is how Christ, from Mary's womb
Was made flesh, was born, and left her a virgin

English translation by Arthur V. Dieli
A certi forestieri ca si maravigghiavanu
di vidiri Fudduni tuttu sfardatizzu.

Sutta sti vesti rozzi pilligrini
Si trovann li cori sparaggiati
La rosa nasci ntrÓ puncenti spini
NtrÓ gerbi terri, li gigghi su nsati,
Li petri priziusi e li rubbini
NtrÓ li rustichi rocchi, li truvati
Chi maravigghia c'Ŕ all' ultimu fini
Si mi viditi sti robbi sfardati?

To certain foreigners who were surprised
to see Fudduni in torn clothing.

Beneath coarse mantles unique hearts will dwell
Mid thorns the roses cast their beauteous spell
Lillies bloom in harsh and hostile ground
Amid rough rocks are gems and rubies found
If you see me first in clothes of rags and tatters
What marvels when at last you find what truly matters.

English rendered by Alice Louise Lyons Dieli

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Last updated 10/31/10