Salvatore Quasimodo was born in Sicily. He studied Greek and Latin from the age of twenty and became a professor of literature in Milan. He translated Shakespeare and Greek lyric poetry. Between 1930 and 1938 he was the leader of the Hermetic school of ‘poesia pura’.
In 1908 his family moved to Messina, as his father had been sent there to help the population struck by a devastating earthquake. The impressions of the effects of natural forces would have a great impact on the young Quasimodo. In 1919 he graduated from the local Technical College. In Messina he also made friends with Giorgio La Pira, future mayor of Florence.
In 1917 Quasimodo founded the short-lived ... more »
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Salvatore Quasimodo Poems
Enemy of Death
You should not have ripped out your image taken from us, from the world, a portion of beauty.
Wind at Tindari
Tindari, I know you mild between broad hills, overhanging the waters of the god’s sweet islands. Today, you confront me and break into my heart.
Street in Agrigentum
There is still the wind that I remember firing the manes of horses, racing, slanting, across the plains, the wind that stains and scours the sandstone,
Ed È Subito Sera
Everyone stands alone at the heart of the world pierced by a ray of sunlight, and suddenly it is evening.
To My Father
Where Messina lay violet upon the waters, among the mangled wires and rubble, you walk along the rails and switches in your islanders'
Uomo Del Mio Tempo
You are still the one with the stone and the sling, Man of my time. You were in the cockpit, With the malevolent wings, the meridians of death,
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Edgar Allan Poe
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Enemy of Death
(For Rossana Sironi)
You should not have
ripped out your image
taken from us, from the world,
a portion of beauty.
What can we do
we enemies of death,
bent to your feet of rose,
your breast of violet?
Not a word, not a scrap
of your last day, a No
to earth’s things, a No
to our dull human record.
The sad moon in summer,
the dragging anchor, took
your dreams, hills, trees,
light, waters, darkness,
not dim thoughts but truths,
severed from the mind
that suddenly decided,
time and all future evil.
Now you are shut