The value of things
Erri De Luca is a Neapolitan novelist, translator and poet, some years ago described as “the writer of the decade”.
He is self-taught in several languages including Ancient Hebrew and Yiddish. Although he never stopped writing since he was 20, his first book has been published in 1989. Many more books followed, best sellers in Italy, France and Israel, his work being translated and published in Spain, Portugal, Germany, Sweden, Holland, USA, Brazil, Poland, Norway, Danmark, Romania, Greece, Lithuania, and more and more. He has himself translated several books of the Bible into Italian and explored various aspects of Judaism, as a non-believer.
What I post today is a poetry entitled “Value”, taken from his “Opera on the water and other poems” of 2002, of which I’ve tried to do a decent translation. In a world where many values are gone lost and where many small things have no more value, this poetry becomes very current. Hope you like.
I consider a “value” all form of life, the snow, the strawberry, the fly.
I consider value the mineral kingdom, the Assembly of the Stars.
I consider value the wine until the meal goes on, an involuntary smile,
the weariness of those who has not saved himself,
two old people who love each other.
I consider value what tomorrow will be worthless
and what today still has a little value.
I consider value any wound,
consider value saving the water, repair a pair of shoes, silent in time,
rushing to a cry, ask for permission before sit down, feel gratitude without remembering the reason.
I consider value the knowledge of where is the north in a room,
what’s the name of the wind that is drying the laundry.
I consider value the voyage of a tramp, the reclusion of a nun,
the patience of a convicted, whatever is the blame.
I consider value the use of the verb ‘to love’ and the idea that there is a creator.
Many of these values I have not known.