To rest at noon
(English translation of 'Meriggiare' by Eugenio Montale)
To rest at noon, pale and thoughtful,
near a sun-baked garden wall,
to listen among thorns and dry twigs
to the crackle of blackbirds, hiss of snakes.
To spy on the files of red ants
in cracks in the soil or over stalks,
now scattering now interlacing
at the top of tiny heaps.
To observe among leaves the distant
quivering scales of the sea
while cicadas begin a tremulous
screech from the barren peaks.
And walking in the dazzling sun
to feel with melancholy wonder
how all of life and its distress
is in this: to follow the line of a wall
spiked with sharp shards of broken glass.
For more translations of poems by Eugenio Montale, go to Translations.