Featured Poem

Singing

…But when we began to sing
Our songs, senseless and good,
It seemed that everything
Stood as it once had stood.

The days were merely days.
Seven made a week.
Killing we thought was wicked.
Of dying we didn’t speak.

The months sped by so fast,
With too many to come for complaints!
Again we were only young:
Not martyrs, the shamed, or saints.

We had these thoughts and others
As long as we could sing.
But it’s all hard to explain,
Being a cloudlike thing.

3 January 1946

(Cf. Siegfried Sassoon, ‘Everyone Sang’.)

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About the translation:
» Read translator's notes
Poet:
Primo Levi
Translator:
Marco Sonzogni, Harry Thomas
Original language:
Italian
Issue:
Series 3 No.15 - Poetry and the State

About the author

Original poet

Primo Levi

Primo Levi (1919-1987) lived most of his life in Turin. During the Nazi occupation of Italy, he joined a partisan group in the...

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Translator

Marco Sonzogni

Marco Sonzogni was educated in Pavia, Dublin, Wellington and Auckland. An academic, poet and literary translator, he lives in...

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Translator

Harry Thomas

Harry Thomas has had his work published in dozens of magazines. His books include Selected Poems of Thomas Hardy and Montale i...

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