about the author

Alda Merini (1931-2009) was an important Italian poet. By the time of her death she had published more than sixty collections of poetry and an autobiography, The Other Truth: Diary of a Dropout (1986), in which she explored madness in creative expression. She was nominated twice for the Nobel Prize in Literature, once in 1996 by the Académie Française and again in 2001 by the Italian PEN Club. Her work is well loved in Italy but is only beginning to be known in the English-speaking world.

about the


Chiara Frenquellucci was born in Rome and has been teaching language and literature for over twenty years. She has published articles on Italian theater, fiction, opera and poetry, a critical edition of 17th c. librettos, as well as textbooks and multimedia eBooks. Gwendolyn Jensen started writing poems when she retired from the presidency of Wilson College (Chambersburg, PA). She has published two collections of poems (Birch Brook Press). Find out more about her at gwendolynjensen.com.

Bookmark and Share


font size

I open the cigarette / Apro la sigaretta

Alda Merini
translated by Chiara Frenquellucci and Gwendolyn Jensen

I open the cigarette
as if it were a leaf of tobacco
and I avidly inhale
the absence of your life.
It is so beautiful to feel you’re out there,
yearning to see me
and never being heard.
I am cruel, I know,
but the code of poets is this:
a long silence, burning
after a very long kiss.


Apro la sigaretta
come fosse una foglia di tabacco
e aspiro avidamente
l’assenza della tua vita.
È così bello sentirti fuori,
desideroso di vedermi
e non mai ascoltato.
Sono crudele, lo so,
ma il gergo dei poeti è questo:
un lungo silenzio acceso
dopo un lunghissimo bacio.

HTML Comment Box is loading comments...