The first of spring

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Spring.
This beautiful word comes from the Old English springan, meaning “to leap, burst forth, fly up; spread, grow”.
In Italian, the name of this season is primavera, from Latin primo vero, meaning “beginning of spring” (in Latin, the word ver (veris) means spring).
In Dutch, the word lente comes from Old English lencten “springtime, spring”.

This year, spring arrives one day earlier, because 2016 is a leapyear. The spring equinox (20 March, 5:30) reminds us that the daylight hours are increasing, giving our planet and all its inhabitants more warmth and power to wake up after the winter cold.

To welcome this season I chose a Disney classic, Fantasia. Hard to believe, it was created 1940, animated dreams moving on excellent famous compositions.
Along Symphony no. 6 “Pastorale” by Beethoven, the frames burst of colors depicting mythological scenes, including fauns, winged horses, Olympian gods like a funny Bacchus.

Enjoy!


I have the pleasure to introduce you to a beautiful poem by Gabriele D’Annunzio, “La pioggia nel pineto” (1902), here proposed in both Italian and English. And if you want to listen to it in original language, at the end of the post you can find this poem recited by one of our most loved actors, Vittorio Gassman.

The poet talks about the multitude of sensations in a pinewoods during a late spring rain. Sounds and sights, smells and textures are so overwhelming that even the poet and his beloved Ermione seems to turn into plants, perfect metamorphosis but in truth return to our true nature. D’Annunzio reminds us that one of the purposes of life, if not the only one, is to experience life itself in all its forms, using our senses and the brillian human brain which allows us to be aware of this enjoyment.

La pioggia nel pineto

Taci. Su le soglie
del bosco non odo
parole che dici
umane; ma odo
parole più nuove
che parlano gocciole e foglie
lontane.
Ascolta. Piove
dalle nuvole sparse.
Piove su le tamerici
salmastre ed arse,
piove su i pini
scagliosi ed irti,
piove su i mirti
divini,
su le ginestre fulgenti
di fiori accolti,
su i ginepri folti
di coccole aulenti,
piove su i nostri volti
silvani,
piove su le nostre mani
ignude,
su i nostri vestimenti
leggieri,
su i freschi pensieri
che l’anima schiude
novella,
su la favola bella
che ieri
t’illuse, che oggi m’illude,
o Ermione.

Odi? La pioggia cade
su la solitaria
verdura
con un crepitío che dura
e varia nell’aria
secondo le fronde
più rade, men rade.
Ascolta. Risponde
al pianto il canto
delle cicale
che il pianto australe
non impaura,
nè il ciel cinerino.
E il pino
ha un suono, e il mirto
altro suono, e il ginepro
altro ancóra, stromenti
diversi
sotto innumerevoli dita.
E immersi
noi siam nello spirto
silvestre,
d’arborea vita viventi;
e il tuo volto ebro
è molle di pioggia
come una foglia,
e le tue chiome
auliscono come
le chiare ginestre,
o creatura terrestre
che hai nome
Ermione.

Ascolta, ascolta. L’accordo
delle aeree cicale
a poco a poco
più sordo
si fa sotto il pianto
che cresce;
ma un canto vi si mesce
più roco
che di laggiù sale,
dall’umida ombra remota.
Più sordo e più fioco
s’allenta, si spegne.
Sola una nota
ancor trema, si spegne,
risorge, trema, si spegne.
Non s’ode voce del mare.
Or s’ode su tutta la fronda
crosciare
l’argentea pioggia
che monda,
il croscio che varia
secondo la fronda
più folta, men folta.
Ascolta.
La figlia dell’aria
è muta; ma la figlia
del limo lontana,
la rana,
canta nell’ombra più fonda,
chi sa dove, chi sa dove!
E piove su le tue ciglia,
Ermione.

Piove su le tue ciglia nere
sìche par tu pianga
ma di piacere; non bianca
ma quasi fatta virente,
par da scorza tu esca.
E tutta la vita è in noi fresca
aulente,
il cuor nel petto è come pesca
intatta,
tra le pàlpebre gli occhi
son come polle tra l’erbe,
i denti negli alvèoli
con come mandorle acerbe.
E andiam di fratta in fratta,
or congiunti or disciolti
(e il verde vigor rude
ci allaccia i mallèoli
c’intrica i ginocchi)
chi sa dove, chi sa dove!
E piove su i nostri vólti
silvani,
piove su le nostre mani
ignude,
su i nostri vestimenti
leggieri,
su i freschi pensieri
che l’anima schiude
novella,
su la favola bella
che ieri
m’illuse, che oggi t’illude,
o Ermione.

Rain in the pinewoods

Be silent. At the edge
of the woods I do not hear
the human words you say;
I hear new words
spoken by droplets and leaves
far away.
Listen. It rains
from the scattered clouds.
It rains on the briny, burned
tamarisk,
it rains on the pine trees
scaly and rough,
it rains on the divine
myrtle,
on the bright ginestra flowers
gathered together,
on the junipers full of
fragrant berries,
it rains on our sylvan
faces,
it rains on our
bare hands
on our light
clothes,
on the fresh thoughts
that our soul, renewed,
liberates,
on the beautiful fable
that beguiled you
yesterday, that beguiles me today,
oh Hermione.

Can you hear? The rain falls
on the solitary
vegetation
with a crackling noise that lasts
and varies in the air
according to the thicker,
less thick foliage.
Listen. With their singing, the cicadas
are answering this weeping,
this southern wind weeping
that does not frighten them,
and nor does the grey sky.
And the pine tree
has a sound, the myrtle
another one, the juniper
yet another, different
instruments
under countless fingers.
And we are immersed
in the sylvan spirit,
living the same
sylvan life;
and your inebriated face
is soft from the rain,
like a leaf,
and your hair is
is fragrant like the light
ginestra flowers,
oh terrestrial creature
called Hermione.

Listen, listen. The song
of the flying cicadas
becomes fainter
and fainter
as the weeping
grows stronger;
but a rougher song
rises from afar,
and flows in
from the humid remote shadow.
Softer and softer
gets weaker, fades away.
One lonely note
still trembles, fades away.
No one can hear the voice of the sea.
Now you can hear the silver rain
pouring in
on the foliage,
rain that purifies,
its roar that varies
according to the thicker,
less thick foliage.
Listen.
The child of the air
is silent; but the child
of the miry swamp, the frog,
far away,
sings in the deepest of shadows
who knows where, who knows where!
And it rains on your lashes,
Hermione.

It rains on your black lashes
as if you were weeping,
weeping from joy; not white
but almost green,
you seem to come out of the bark.
And life is in us fresh
and fragrant,
the heart in our chests is like a peach
untouched
under the eyelids our eyes
are like springs in the grass
and the teeth in our mouths
green almonds.
And we go from thicket to thicket,
at a time together, at a time apart
(the vegetation, thick and vigorous,
entwines our ankles
entangles our knees)
who knows where, who knows where!
And it rains on our sylvan
faces,
it rains on our
bare hands
on our light
clothes,
on the fresh thoughts
that our soul, renewed,
liberates,
on the beautiful fable
that beguiled me
yesterday, that beguiles you today,
oh Hermione.