Arrowsmith’s Montale: “Life in the Trojan Horse”

Life in the Trojan Horse
was no picnic.
We were packed in
like anchovies in a can.
When the others left,
I stayed inside, unsure
of the rules of war.

Now I know what I didn’t then,
when I hoarded my noblest powers
for the final, the decisive act.
Which was an act that had no end,
almost the auto sacramental,
of the baseborn in the hide
of an unrealized quadruped.

From Poetic Diary: 1972

Eugenio Montale, translated by William Arrowsmith
Arrowsmith‘s translations of Montale’s last works are newly collected and will shortly be posthumously published alongside his classic renditions in an edition edited by Rosanna Warren

Read from her introduction here

From The Collected Poems of Eugenio Montale: 1925-1977, translated by William Arrowsmith and edited by Rosanna Warren.  Translation copyright © 2012 by Beth Arrowsmith, Nancy Arrowsmith, and Rosanna Warren.

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