“Chi sono” – Who am I?

Chi sono? – Aldo Palazzeschi
— Translation by Denise DeVries

Who am I?
Perhaps a poet?
No indeed.
My soul’s pen writes merely a word,
very strange,
Am I a painter then?
Barely one color
appears on my soul’s palette:
So, a musician?
Not even that.
A single note
sounds from the keys of my soul:
I am, then … what?
I place a lens
on my heart
for people to see within.
Who am I?
A charlatan of my own soul.


Chi sono?
Son forse un poeta?
No certo.
Non scrive che una parola, ben strana,
la penna dell’anima mia:
Son dunque un pittore?
Non à che un colore
la tavolozza dell’anima mia:
Un musico allora?
Non c’è che una nota
nella tastiera dell’anima mia:
Son dunque… che cosa?
Io metto una lente
dinanzi al mio core,
per farlo vedere alla gente.
Chi sono?
Il saltimbanco dell’anima mia.

One of my Italian translation clients told me about futurist Aldo Palazzeschi when I began searching for Italian surrealist poets. His writing is also defined as crepuscolarismo, or Twilight school, characterized by nostalgia and simple language. (Fortunately for me, since this is my first translation of an Italian poem.)

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