Monday 8 June 2009

Every Berlusconi has his day

The Italian abbuffata is over. I've had my bellyful of pappardelle al sugo di lepre and cicoria in padella, I have watched a couple of hours of Italian trash TV (mainly news programmes), I tried to vote and failed, because it turned up I needed a certificate to prove my existence from the town's Mayor, I have glimpsed a hundred times – as I zapped through the twenty-six TV channels available in my hotel room – Berlusconi's Duce-like grinning head, I have been to Marino, Grottaferrata, Genzano, Albano, Cecchina, Castel Gandolfo, Lariano, Velletri and Ariccia, I have met my parents, my grandmother, my brother and sister and their families, four uncles, four aunts and four cousins, and a couple of dozen acquaintances, I nearly got killed in a car accident, and I had a sleepless night because of raging winds flapping the hotel's flags outside our hotel room's window. For three days I have not checked my email or browsed the Internet or blogged or read a book or a newspaper or spoken English or been able to find out about Gordon Brown and the UK local elections. And I didn't feel guilty about not doing anything until I was back home.

Since I've been speaking Romanesco for the past few days, I thought I'd give you a Belli poem tonight:

The Life of Man

Nine months in a bog, then swaddling clothes
and sloppy kisses, rashes, big round tears,
a baby harness, baby walker, bows,
short trousers and a cap for several years,

and then begin the agonies of school,
the ABC, the pox, the six of the best,
the poo-poo in the pants, the ridicule,
the chilblains, measles, fevers on the chest;

then works arrives, the daily slog, the rent,
the fasts, the stretch inside, the government,
the hospitals, the debts to pay, the fucks...

The chaser to it all, on God's say-so,
(after summer's sun and winter's snow)
is death, and after death comes hell—life sucks.

[18th January 1833 – Translation by Mike Stocks, 2007]

You can read the original here.


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