“And then we cowards” by Cesare Pavese
MARGINALIA • SKIP TO THE POEM
I have a headache the size of the ocean. No regrets, and the cup of pencils I threw across my shoulder in a fit of sweeping rage was worth it. Some things I learned last night: the world doesn’t stop, not ever. Not even for this. I only wished it would, but I don’t hold it in my hands. Loneliness sweeps through the body at any given time. It will leave only when it is done.
I do not have the strength to talk about it any more, so maybe I won’t. I can’t move on, not just yet, but the crying is done. The crying is done.
“And then we cowards”
Translated by Geoffrey Brock
And then we cowards
who loved the whispering
evening, the houses,
the paths by the river,
the dirty red lights
of those places, the sweet
we reached our hands out
toward the living chain
in silence, but our heart
startled us with blood,
and no more sweetness then,
no more losing ourselves
on the path by the river—
no longer slaves, we knew
we were alone and alive.
[expand title=”Endnotes” tag=”h6″ expanded=”true”]
This poem appeared in Disaffections: Complete Poems 1930-1950 by Cesare Pavese, translated by Geoffrey Brock, published by Copper Canyon Press, 2002. Shared here with profound gratitude.
Read more works by Cesare Pavese • Find books by this poet • Find books by this translator • Or view my library
Explore poems in pursuit of: sorrow • freedom • power • Or browse the index
[expand title=”Dear Reader” tag=”h6″]
This little corner of the world is my passion project since 2005. My commitment is that it will always remain free to all. If this place holds meaning for you, would you consider supporting it? This can be in the form of a cup of coffee (+ other ways).
Note that Read A Little Poetry may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through any links on this site. It is at no additional cost to you and helps in the upkeep of this space.
Thank you for being here all these years—and into the future—as I hold poets to the light.
I cherish your voice in a crazy world.