Learn More

Cesare Pavese

(9 September 1908 – 27 August 1950 / Santo Stefano Belbo)

Ancestors


Stunned by the world, I reached an age
when I threw punches at air and cried to myself.
Listening to the speech of women and men,
not knowing how to respond, it's not fun.
But this too has passed: I'm not alone anymore,
and if I still don't know how to respond,
I don't need to. Finding myself, I found company.

I learned that before I was born I had lived
in men who were steady and firm, lords of themselves,
and none could respond and all remained calm.
Two brothers-in-law opened a store--our family's
first break. The outsider was serious,
scheming, ruthless, and mean--a woman.
The other one, ours, read novels at work,
which made people talk. When customers came,
they'd hear him say, in one or two words,
that no, there's no sugar, Epsom salts no,
we're all out of that. Later it happened
that this one lent a hand to the other, who'd gone broke.

Thinking of these folks makes me feel stronger
than looking in mirrors and sticking my chest out
or shaping my mouth into a humorless smile.
One of my grandfathers, ages ago,
was being cheated by one of his farmhands,
so he worked the vineyards himself, in the summer,
to make sure it was done right. That's how
I've always lived too, always maintaining
a steady demeanor, and paying in cash.

And women don't count in this family.
I mean that our women stay home
and bring us into the world and say nothing
and count for nothing and we don't remember them.
Each of them adds something new to our blood,
but they kill themselves off in the process, while we,
renewed by them, are the ones to endure.
We're full of vices and horrors and whims--

Submitted: Monday, January 20, 2003

Do you like this poem?
2 person liked.
0 person did not like.

Read poems about / on: women, family, fun, woman, summer, remember, work, smile, people, world, home, alone, brother, mirror

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (Ancestors by Cesare Pavese )

Enter the verification code :

  • Rookie Bibhu Padhi (1/14/2008 9:21:00 PM)

    A great one. One returns to it several times and each time one discovers something different, something more. That sadness and nostalgia so typical to the twentieth century European poets runs through the entire poem; it is felt even in its wry humor. (Report) Reply

Read all 1 comments »

Trending Poets

Trending Poems

  1. A Dream Within A Dream, Edgar Allan Poe
  2. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  3. Daffodils, William Wordsworth
  4. Invictus, William Ernest Henley
  5. Fire and Ice, Robert Frost
  6. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Robert Frost
  7. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  8. Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, Dylan Thomas
  9. Dreams, Langston Hughes
  10. Acquainted with the Night, Robert Frost

Poem of the Day

poet Li Po

Amongst the flowers I
am alone with my pot of wine
drinking by myself; then lifting
my cup I asked the moon
to drink with me, its reflection
and mine in the wine cup, just
...... Read complete »

   

Member Poem

poet Marvin Brato Sr

New Poems

  1. Only the View, David Lewis Paget
  2. Out-of-body Experience, Colm Keenan
  3. Burqawali Bibi, Bijay Kant Dubey
  4. A Gentle Soul, Joseph Narusiewicz
  5. He Watches over Me, Angela Khristin Brown
  6. A Modern Girl In The Make-Up, The Face A.., Bijay Kant Dubey
  7. Your Day, abdulrazak aralimatti
  8. The Deeds of the Devil, Swetashree Sahoo
  9. Without Spending Money, He Is A Net Poet.., Bijay Kant Dubey
  10. Destruction, Aftab Alam
[Hata Bildir]