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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

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.

Pier Paolo Pasolini

Pier Paolo Pasolini was born on March 5, 1922, in Bologna, Italy. He was a film director and a poet. Some of his collections include La meglio gioventù (1954) and Poesia in forma di rosa (1964). Pasolini died in 1975.

by this poet

poem
Desert flower, flowers from the garland
of our houses where families
bicker in the open air,

you browse on the stones of the day,
simple, while field and sky 
like sky and sea 
appear all around.

Rustic desert flower,

no evening streaming with lights.

No shepherds drenched by dew,

slender fire of the hedges