‘Absence’, the poem I propose to you, is taken precisely from the collection Sirio. Absence is a short and intense poem with an extremely engaging lyricism.
Vague thoughts of you
Sorrowful the breast
Vago pensiero di te
Dolente il petto
To whom does Bertolucci address himself? To an intimate you, known to the writer and unknown to the readers. In the verses, the poet reveals a kind of suffering (aching chest) that is nevertheless tolerated by him because this absence is like a light stone, and the vague thought of you and the vague memories manage to transform them into a more acute presence.
In this poem we can observe the mastery of poetic language possessed by Bertolucci, his mastery in concentrating in a few verses a set of rhetorical figures, which are fitted together like a jigsaw puzzle to enrich the form, and to reveal the most intimate nuances, starting with the intense and effective oxymoron absence/presence to then find the evocative metaphor on pain bearable because on the aching chest like a light stone, and in the last stanza the figures of sound are used, the repetition of the letter p in chest, door, stone, phonic structures perfectly related to the sense of the lyrical message. Bertolucci’s is a unique and unmistakable style that embraces symbolism; an intelligible poetic writing, limpid, not at all hermetic, and strongly profound.
Attilio Bertolucci, Absence poem from the collection Sirio
Translated with Translator