Primo Levi

(1919 - 1987 / Turin / Italy)

The Survivor - Poem by Primo Levi

Once more he sees his companions' faces
Livid in the first faint light,
Gray with cement dust,
Nebulous in the mist,
Tinged with death in their uneasy sleep.
At night, under the heavy burden
Of their dreams, their jaws move,
Chewing a non-existant turnip.
'Stand back, leave me alone, submerged people,
Go away. I haven't dispossessed anyone,
Haven't usurped anyone's bread.
No one died in my place. No one.
Go back into your mist.
It's not my fault if I live and breathe,
Eat, drink, sleep and put on clothes.'


Comments about The Survivor by Primo Levi

  • Fabrizio Frosini Fabrizio Frosini (9/12/2015 9:07:00 AM)


    ITALIAN ORIGINAL TEXT:
    ____________________

    ''IL SUPERSTITE''

    a B.V.

    Since then, at an uncertain hour,
    Dopo di allora, ad ora incerta,
    Quella pena ritorna,
    E se non trova chi lo ascolti
    Gli brucia in petto il cuore.
    Rivede i visi dei suoi compagni
    Lividi nella prima luce,
    Grigi di polvere di cemento,
    Indistinti per nebbia,
    Tinti di morte nei sonni inquieti:
    A notte menano le mascelle
    Sotto la mora greve dei sogni
    Masticando una rapa che non c’è.
    “Indietro, via di qui, gente sommersa,
    Andate. Non ho soppiantato nessuno,
    Non ho usurpato il pane di nessuno,
    Nessuno è morto in vece mia. Nessuno.
    Ritornate alla vostra nebbia.
    Non è mia colpa se vivo e respiro
    E mangio e bevo e dormo e vesto panni.

    (Primo Levi)

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    The Survivor

    to B.V.

    Dopo di allora, ad ora incerta,
    Since then, at an uncertain hour,
    That agony returns:
    And till my ghastly tale is told,
    This heart within me burns.

    Once more he sees his companion’s faces
    Livid in the first faint light,
    Grey with cement dust,
    Nebulous in the mist,
    Tinged with death in their uneasy sleep.
    At night, under the heavy burden
    Of their dreams, their jaws move,
    Chewing a nonexistent turnip.
    ‘Stand back, leave me alone, submerged people,
    Go away. I haven’t dispossessed anyone,
    Haven’t usurped anyone’s bread.
    No one died in my place. No one.
    Go back into your mist.
    It’s not my fault if I live and breathe,
    Eat, drink, sleep and put on clothes.’


    Primo Levi
    4 February 1984 (Report) Reply

    17 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Martin Swords (8/12/2007 5:43:00 PM)


    Not gone.Not forgotten.The Messenger has delivered his Message.'Remember' (Report) Reply

Read all 2 comments »



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Read poems about / on: sleep, people, alone, death, light, night, dream



Poem Submitted: Thursday, January 1, 2004

Poem Edited: Tuesday, January 11, 2005


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