Closed Manor


In the Roman countryside


I know a manor closed and abandoned
from time immemorial, secret
and closed off as the heart of a poet
who lives in forced solitude.


A hedge surrounds it, a wall
of bitter boxwood and the shade of a pine forest.
Not broken, not restless,
the once talkative fountain is silent.


Such is the peace in this decrepit
manor, where it seems almost everything
has been slowly sold off.


Only a rusty weathervane
remains, high up in the silent tower,
turning and turning endlessly.

Villa chiusa

ne la campagna romana


So d’una villa chiusa e abbandonata
da tempo immemorabile, secreta
e chiusa come il cuore d’un poeta
che viva in solitudine forzata.


La circonda una siepe, e par murata
di amaro bosso, e l’ombra alla pineta
da tanto più non rompe né più inquieta
la ciarliera fontana disseccata.


Tanta è la pace in questa intisichita
villa che sembra quasi che ogni cosa
sia venduta a traverse d’una lente.


Solo una ventarola arrugginita
in alto, su la torre silenziosa,
che gira, gira interminatamente.

Corrado Govoni was born in 1884 in Tamara, Italy. He is considered the father of the literary movement of Crepuscularism, literally meaning “Twilight,” and concerning itself with humble subjects, melancholy, and introspection. He also wrote novels, stories, and plays. He died near Rome in 1965.

Paula Bohince is the author of three poetry collections, most recently Swallows and Waves. She has been a recipient of the Amy Lowell Scholarship for Poets Traveling Abroad and an NEA Fellowship. She is the 2020 John Montague International Poetry Fellow in Ireland.