Monday, February 25, 2008

I am beginning to understand why these sonnets are not translated with much aesthetic sense in concert and liner notes. This one provided quite the wrestling match.

Il prete rosso
(Vivaldi's Summer Sonnet)

Under the merciless sun
shepherds languish
and so too, their flocks;
the pine tree burns.

A cuckoo raises her voice in song,
turtledove and finch form trio,
their warbling accompanied by the whisper
of an affable west wind.
But sweet-tempered Zephyr
is soon overtaken;
Boreas sweeps in
armed for battle.
A small shepherd weeps,
frightened by the winds
and by what lies ahead.
His limbs tremble
in fear of the oncoming storm
and of a furious swarm
of gnats and flies.

Ah, but his trembling is just,
a summer squall,
fearsome and fulminate,
cuts across the sky.
Spears of wheat fall
as hailstones reap
the proud fruit of
a poor farmer's labor.

(Image: Van Gogh, Wheatfield with a lark)