Alda Merini, “There are nights that don’t ever happen”

There are nights that don’t ever happen (tr. Douglas Basford)
Alda Merini

There are nights that don’t
ever happen.

Comment:

I’ve given up on trying to find the Italian original. But it is important. Catherine Rogers, whom I trust regarding all things Italian, pointed out that “I am a furious / little bee” is actually “I am a little,” emphasis on “a little” being pretty much a noun itself. “Furious bee” might be the result of being “a little.”

So I have to trust the given translation. I’ll guess that “There are nights that don’t” has an internal drama unique to it. For myself, the sensuality implied by “nights” is defused by “don’t ever happen.” That seems to be the poem’s larger purpose – it is an extended sigh. But “don’t” – the lack of action, the neglected action – makes one wonder if anything can be done in any night, ever. It’s too much speculation, I know, but note the passivity of “there are” and the eventual “happen.” I wonder if the problem of night is that one can’t do anything oneself. One is dependent on something else, always. “Nights,” then, aren’t just sensuality, the happening that fulfills what we think are our deepest longings. Nights are where one cannot do. Nothing should happen at night, except what does happen.

3 Comments

  1. “Ci sono notti che non accadono mai”
    from the collection “Fiore di poesia”

    I like the idea you’ve given of an “extended sigh”

    Sorry I took so long in reading this!

Leave a Comment