“I often encountered the evil of living” by Eugenio Montale

Eugenio Montale was an Italian poet awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1975.

I often encountered the evil of living

I often encountered the evil of living:
it was the choked brook that gurgles,
it was the curling of the sun-parched
leaf, it was the horse that collapses.

The good I did not know, beyond the miracle
unfolded by divine Indifference:
it was the statue in the drowsiness
of midday, and the cloud, and the hawk soaring high

—translated by David Bowles
July 11, 2014

The original Italian

Spesso il male di vivere ho incontrato:
era il rivo strozzato che gorgoglia,
era l’incartocciarsi della foglia
riarsa, era il cavallo stramazzato.

Bene non seppi; fuori del prodigio
che schiude la divina Indifferenza:
era la statua nella sonnolenza
del meriggio, e la nuvola, e il falco alto levato.

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