Sicilian Poetry


Giuseppe Scandurra (1877 - 1966)

Giuseppe Nicolosi ScandurraGiuseppe Nicolosi Scandurra was born in Catania in 1877. His mother died when he was seven. At the age of thirteen he left Catania and went to work on a feudal estate. It is there that he first encounters Rusidda or Rosa, the girl who is the object of all his love poems. In a few years, Scandurra is being referred to as the "poeta contadino" (the poet farmer).

In his essay entitled Il Petrarchismo in Giuseppe Scandurra poeta siciliano del novecento "Il canzoniere di Rusidda", pages 18-27 in Éthnos: Quaderni di etnologia, published by the Centro Studi di Tradizioni Popolari, "Turiddu Bella", Siracusa, 2005, the essayist Alfio Patti refers to Rusidda as Scandurra's inspirational muse. He is facinated by the parallels he finds between Scandurra's poems about Rusidda and Petrarch's poems about Laura and gives a number of examples.

This poem, Mi Veni A Menti (It Comes To Mind) is from the third edition of Scandurra's book of poetry, Natura e sintimentu, published in 1951, Tipografia Conti, Catania, 543 pp. It is the last poem that Alfio Patti quotes in his essay.

Mi Veni A Menti

It Comes To Mind

Mi veni a menti, quannu di matina,
ccu lu suli affacciatu di livanti,
c'ancora si videva l'acquazzina
riddutta comu sbrizzi di brillanti.

Ju caminava, e camina camina
passannu di lu ciumi ranti ranti,
l'ummira mia 'ntra l'acqua cristallina
m'era cumpagna e mi tirava avanti.

Quannu tra canni e salici arrivai,
l'ummira mia si spersi frunni frunni
e senza cumpagnia sulu ristai.

Dicennu: Rosa venimi e mi trovi
macari ca ti parru e non rispunni
macari ca pri l'ummira ti movi.

It comes to mind, when of a morning
the sun peeks from the east,
and the morning dew is still visible
like irridescent diamond droplets.

I'd walk, and walk and walk
following along the river's edge,
my shadow in the crystal clear water
companioning me, pulling me along.

When I'd reach the reeds and willows,
my shadow would be lost within theirs
and I'd be left alone, companionless.

I'd call out: Rosie, come and find me
even though I speak to you unanswered
even though you need sidestep the shadow.

English translation by Arthur V. Dieli

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Last updated 11/11/09