Featured Poem

The violets are children with bare feet

The leaves are fresh on the almond trees,
spring water rains from stone walls;
trotting lightly, the donkeys choose
the friendlier of the river’s banks;
the girls with the darkest eyes
clamber on the squeaking cart, aloof.
March is a baby, laughing already, in its swaddling clothes.

And you can forget the winter,
who, bent by bundles of wood,
have told your beads,
mile after freezing mile,
to roast your face by the fire.

Now ticks come back to the horses,
in the stables flies stir the air,
and children with bare feet
charge upon clumps of violet.

View photos taken by Amarjit Chandan from the launch of MPT's Rocco Scotellaro, Poems pamphlet 

» Comment on this translation 2 comment(s)

About the translation:
» Read translator's notes
Rocco Scotellaro
Allen Prowle
Original language:
Series 3 No.10 - The Big Green Issue

Original poem

About the authors


Rocco Scotellaro

Rocco Scotellaro never saw his poems published. In 1954, the year after his cruelly premature death from a heart attack at th...

» Read more


Allen Prowle

Allen Prowle was awarded the Times/Stephen Spender Prize 2007 for his translations of poems by Attilio Bertolucci. Previously,...

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The violets are children with bare feet

Le Viole Sono Dei Fanciulli Scalzi

Sono fresche le foglie dei mandorli
i muri piovono acqua sorgiva
si scelgono la comoda riva
gli asini che trottano leggeri.
Le ragazze dagli occhi più neri
montano altere sul carro che stride
Marzo è un bambino in fasce che già ride.

E puoi dimenticarti dell’inverno:
che curvo sotto le salme di legna
recitavi il tuo rosario
lungo freddi chilometri
per cuocerti il volto al focolare.

Ora ritorna la zecca ai cavalli
ventila la mosca nelle stalle
e i fanciulli sono scalzi
assaltano i ciuffi delle viole

(29 febbraio – 1º marzo 1948)


Mark Kingston

2nd Mar 2012

This is my favourite of Allen Prowle's wonderful translations of Scotellaro's poems.
The joy I get from reading this is that I feel that I am transported there. I can see, hear and touch everything in the poem ,it's gentle pace is so comforting.
I love the uncomplicated imagery, less is more.


2nd Mar 2012

This poem just makes me want to get on the first plane to Italy. No leaves on the trees here yet in Yorkshire and my children can't wait to take their shoes off! I love the image of March as a laughing baby - I think it has still got a bit of colic here...


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