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Through Poem-a-Day, we present original, previously unpublished poems by our country's most talented poets throughout the week and classic poems on the weekends. 

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The Resistance and Its Light

About this Poem 

“‘The Resistance and Its Light’ was translated during a moment of personal grief in which Pasolini’s structured luminescence was a balm. It’s from his book Roman Poems.”
Brandon Brown

The Resistance and Its Light

Pier Paolo Pasolini

translated by Brandon Brown 

so I came to the days of the Resistance
I didn’t know anything but style
it was a style made totally of light
memorable recognition
of sun. It could never fade
not even for an instant
even as Europe trembled
on its deadliest evening
we escaped from Casarsa
with our stuff in a cart
to a ruined village
among canals and vineyards it was pure light
my brother left, it was a mute morning
March, in a train, disguised
his pistol in a book it was pure light
he lived a long time in the mountains
which shone like paradise in the blue gloom
of Friulian plains it was pure light
in the attic of our farmhouse my mother
always stared at those mountains
hopeless, she saw the future it was pure light
with a few poor people I lived
a glorious life, persecuted
by despicable rhetoric it was pure light
the day of death came
Independence Day, the martyred world
knew itself again in the light…

the light was the thought of justice
I didn’t know what kind of justice
all light equal to all other light
then it changed, the light like an uncertain morning
a waxing dawn that spread all over
Friulian fields and canals
struggling workers in the light
the rising dawn was a light I mean
beyond the eternity of style
in history, justice has been
the realization of a humane
distribution of money, hope
maybe, brighter than that
new light

Copyright © 2015 by Brandon Brown. Used with permission of the translator.

Copyright © 2015 by Brandon Brown. Used with permission of the translator.