The olive tree and the Greek poet Sappho –
by Salvatore Paolo Garufi Tanteri

A windy day can happen everywhere, even in the magical square of San Pietro, where there is La Casa del Sogno Antico.

Thus, a Prometheus Mazzacanagghia in a shapeless lecherous watch smoking prof. Socrates Sciusciapinseri, perfectly at ease in a tie and jacket with two shades of blue, on top of an angelic light blue shirt.

“The wind!” Said the professor, with his gaze lost beyond the window, in search of the solitary olive tree above the hill. “That tree seems to cling to the sky so as not to be taken away.”

“Yeah … the wind!” Growled Mazzacanagghia. “What do you say, Professor? Do we write another poem on it? ”

“The greatest lyric of all time has already thought of poetry, the queen of verses in the time of classical Greece, the divine Sappho!”

He took a drag on his cigarette, puffed his dose of environmental pollution towards the ceiling and said:

The dark foliage of the laurel and the pale olive tree vibrates …

“And how much did the poet study us to say such a miniminagghia?” Ma zzacanagghia snickered.

“It has lost us, more or less, the time you waste to churn out your nonsense … But do you know who Sappho was?”

“I know … a mind-wrecker who, instead of men, did the right things to do with women.”

“It was much more. We will have to wait for our Giacomo Leopardi to have words that were at that height … Sappho loved life and one cannot love life without loving love. Life is the olive tree, with the leaves turning silver under the lash of the wind, like our hair in the passage of time … and, like the heart throbs and vibrates when we are in love, so the leaves tremble and roar for the caresses, or slaps, of the air … The air is time, it is love, it is sentiment, it is life … ”

“And I said everything … like Peppino De Filippo in Totò, Peppino and the bad girl!” Laughed Mazzacanagghia.

He stopped, as if in doubt.

“Or have we forgotten something? …” he added. “Teacher! With all the material you put in, a hundred-story building was supposed to come out, not a phrase that seems barely normal to me! ”

“It takes beauty trained eyes to see beauty. It’s like when you and I go to collect asparagus … You, who have the right eyes, find them even in a tangle of brambles … Instead, I only see stones and brushwood … Sappho, again, knew how to find the taste and the joy of living in his pains of love. ”

He took the volume he kept resting on the sideboard and leafed through it, put out his cigarette and solemnly recited:

You, dead, will end up there. Nor ever about you

You will have memory, and of yourself over time

Never will anyone be born love,

Then don’t worry about the roses of the spirit.

And, also unknown in the houses of the dead,

You will go here and there among the dark ones

Dead, fluttering.

“So, at least, he translated Salvatore Quasimodo into Italian … with some adjustments on my part,” he concluded.

 

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