While I was taking a shower this morning something I had accidentally read last night on the web hit me like a rock:
Did Rome really fall?
Well, since Rome still exists, it actually never fell.
It rather adapted.
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New York City, 17 luglio 1900
In quel giorno il New York Times scrisse:
“Little Italy [...] era in pompa magna ieri, il giorno della festa di Nostra Signora del Carmine. Una folla di italiani, variamente stimata tra le 40.000 e le 75.000 persone, assediava il santuario nella Chiesa di Nostra Signora del Carmine nella 115esima strada, dalle 4 del mattino fino a tarda notte. La folla recava in offerta candele di ogni dimensione, denaro, gioielli, figure in cera e in un caso un paio di occhiali”.
Abbiamo scambiato delle idee qui nel blog del MoR sul tema delle feste religiose italiane e sul loro significato.
Adesso vorrei richiamare l’attenzione su quelle figure in cera. Cosa sono?
Sono per lo più ex voto anatomici, cioè “modelli di arti o organi in relazione ai quali i devoti imploravano la Madonna perché sanasse le corrispondenti parti del corpo umano” – come scrisse il NYT in un altro articolo dello stesso periodo.
“I venditori di articoli religiosi collocavano bancarelle lungo i marciapiedi, in competizione con il commercio locale in articoli religiosi. Le bancarelle erano zeppe di copie in cera di organi interni umani e modelli di arti e teste umane. Chi era stato guarito – o sperava di essere guarito – dalla Madonna dei mal di testa o delle artriti recava nella grande processione modelli in cera degli arti e delle parti del corpo malate, ben dipinte per farle apparire più realistiche. Il fedele poteva anche acquistare statue di cera raffiguranti neonati, amuleti per scongiurare il malocchio, come ad esempio piccole corna da indossare attorno al collo o piccoli gobbi rossi, il tutto venduto assieme a santini, statue di Gesù, di Maria, dei santi, e a parti anatomiche del corpo”.
Antica Roma, 342 a.C.
Marcia è felice. Suo figlio, di 14 anni, si è appena ristabilito da un terribile incidente di strada. Le gambe fratturate sono guarite e lui adesso può camminare nuovamente. La lettiga che la trasporta viene adagiata sull’acciottolato. Marcia ne esce ed entra in una bottega di fronte all’isola Tiberina dove si trova il tempio di Esculapio, il dio della medicina e della guarigione. Marcia acquista due gambe in terracotta che di lì a poco porterà al tempio del dio, come dono sacro e simbolo di gratitudine.
Marcia è un personaggio immaginario ma un vera e propria bottega-deposito risalente a più di duemila anni fa – in piena epoca repubblicana – fu rinvenuta nella primavera del 1885 durante gli scavi per la costruzione del muraglione sinistro del Tevere.
Conteneva – come scriverà l’archeologo Rodolfo Lanciani nel 1898 (L’antica Roma, cap. III p.87, Newton & Compton, 2005) “un gran numero di oggetti anatomici in terracotta dipinta, finemente modellata, e rappresentanti teste, orecchie, occhi, seni, braccia, mani, ginocchia, gambe, piedi ecc. Si trattava di ex-voto offerti alle divinità greco-romane da madri e parenti riconoscenti”.
In realtà, Lanciani aggiunge, “sembra che all’ingresso del ponte Fabricio [chiamato in seguito anche Ponte Quattro Capi, vedi immagine sotto, ndr] che conduce dal Campo Marzio all’isola vi fossero botteghe per la vendita di ex-voto di ogni genere … “
Ex voto anatomici offerti alle divinità in segno di gratitudine o nella speranza di guarigioni erano comuni presso innumerevoli popoli antichi. Esistevano in Mesopotamia, nella Creta minoica, nell’antico Egitto ecc, ma i reperti più numerosi sono stati rinvenuti in Grecia e soprattutto nell’Italia centrale dove la maggior parte di essi risale al periodo tra il IV e il I secolo a.C.
Numerosi gli ex voto anatomici anche nelle province dell’impero romano. In Gallia, l’attuale Francia, ad esempio, essi erano numerosi nei santuari della Dea Sequana, la dea celtica della Senna.
Egli tuttavia parla di paganesimo quando descrive la reazione dei cattolici non italiani nei confronti della religiosità italiana. Gli italiani sbarcati in America vennero infatti accusati di superficialità religiosa e di strane pratiche pagane.
“In un aspro attacco pubblicato sul The Catholic world nel 1888 – riferisce Orsi a pag. 55 del libro citato – il reverendo Bernard Lynch criticò duramente ‘il particolare tipo di condizione spirituale’ degli immigrati italiani, che si nutrivano di pellegrinaggi, santuari, santini, devozioni, ma che mancavano di qualsiasi reale comprensione della ‘grande verità della religione’ “.
Nella pagina successiva Orsi parla di “un sacerdote italiano che passò tutta la vita nell’East Harlem e nella chiesa del Carmine” e che riferì all’autore di come “egli avesse sempre saputo che il clero irlandese era contrario alle devozioni della Madonna del Carmine perché le considerava superstizioni pagane:” “Ci vedevano come africani, come gente strana. E rifiutavano tutto ciò … Eravamo sempre guardati dall’alto in basso, come se stessimo facendo qualcosa di male … “.
Post di argomento simile:
“Italians are Cynical, Amoral, Religiously Superficial”
Politeismo dell’antica Roma e venerazione dei santi (1)
Politeismo dell’antica Roma e venerazione dei santi (2)
Sopravvivenze della dea romana Fortuna
Survivals of Roman Religion
From the Goddess of the Fever to Our Lady of the Fever
I hope to soon resume my posts in English.
In the meanwhile English-speaking readers may have noticed that a portion of their comments has been translated together with the posts rendered in Italian and being recently published here.
I thought Italian readers could be interested in the discussions occurred in this blog.
New York City, July 17 1900.
The New York Times wrote on that day:
“Little Italy […] was out in gala attire yesterday, which was the day of the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. A crowd of Italians estimated variously at from 40,000 to 75,000 besieged the shrine in the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, at 115th street and Avenue A, from 4 o’clock in the morning until late at night, bringing with them as offerings candles of all sizes, money, jewellery, wax figures, and in one case a pair of spectacles.”
We exchanged ideas in this discussion at the MoR’s about the significance of Italian religious feasts.
Now I’d like to draw attention on those wax figures. What are they?
As Robert Anthony Orsi observes (at page 3 of his 1985 book “The Madonna of 115th street – Faith and community in Italian Harlem, 1880-1950”) :
“Vendors of religious articles set up booths along the sidewalks, competing for business with the thriving local trade in religious goods. The booths were filled with wax replicas of internal human organs and with models of human limbs and heads. Someone who has been healed – or hoped to be healed – by the Madonna of the headaches or arthritis would carry wax models of the afflicted limbs or head, painted to make them look realistic, in the big procession. The devout could also buy little wax statues of infants. Charms to ward off the evil eye, such as little horns to wear around the neck and little red hunchbacks, were sold alongside the holy cards, statues of Jesus, Mary and the saints, and the wax body parts.”
Ancient Rome, 342 BC.
Marcia is happy. Her 14-year-old son has recovered from a terrible cart accident. His fractured legs have healed and he can walk again. The lectica carrying her is now set down. She gets out of it and enters a shop not far from the temple of Aesculapius, god of medicine and healing. She buys two terra-cotta legs that she will soon take to the temple of the god on the Tiber island, as a sacred gift expressing her gratitude.
Marcia is fictional but a real ancient Roman shop going back more than a couple of thousand years earlier perhaps (the period of the Roman Republic) was discovered in the spring of 1885 in the foundations of the left embankment of the Tiber.
It contained – archaeologist Rodolfo Lanciani wrote a few years later – “a large number of anatomical specimens in painted terra-cotta, beautifully modelled from nature, and representing heads, ears, eyes, breasts, arms, hands, knees, legs, feet, ex-votos offered by happy mothers etc.” to the Greco-Roman deities.
In fact, Lanciani adds, “it seems that at the entrance of the Fabrician bridge (ponte Quattro Capi, see image below), leading from the Campus Martius to the island [where the temple of the god was located, MoR], there were shops for the sale of ex‑votos of every description …”
Anatomical ex votos as offerings to a deity out of gratitude or in hope for healing were common in many ancient peoples. They existed in Mesopotamia, Minoan Crete, ancient Egypt etc. but the most numerous finds were unearthed in Greece and especially in central Italy where most of them date back from the 4th to the 1st century BC.
We also found anatomical ex votos in provinces of the Roman empire. In Gallia now France, for example, they were present in sanctuaries of Dea Sequana, the Celtic goddess of the river Seine.
Robert A. Orsi in his valuable work on NYC Madonna of Mount Carmel does not make use of the term ‘pagan’ as for the Italian-Americans of the period 1880-1950 [I wonder why. I don't think there is anything shameful about the traces of ancient customs. Quite the contrary]
Paganism is though mentioned when he describes the reaction of the non Italian Catholics to the Italian religiosity. Italians were accused of religious superficiality and of weird, pagan practices.
“In a bitter attack published in The Catholic world in 1888 – Orsi refers at p. 55 -, the Reverend Bernard Lynch excoriated “the peculiar kind of spiritual condition” of the Italian immigrants, fed on pilgrimages, shrines, holy cards, and ‘devotions’ “but lacking any understanding of ‘the great truth of religion’.”
On the following page Orsi mentions “an Italian priest who spent his own life in East Harlem and at Mount Carmel” and who told the author that “he always knew the Irish Clergy were against the Mount Carmel devotions, viewing them as pagan superstitions: “They thought we were Africans, that there was something weird. They didn’t accept it at all …We were always looked upon as though we were doing something wrong…”.
“Italians are Cynical, Amoral, Religiously Superficial”
Ancient (Roman) Polytheism and the Veneration of Saints (1)
Ancient (Roman) Polytheism and the Veneration of Saints (2)
Survivals of the Roman Goddess Fortuna
Survivals of Roman Religion
From the Goddess of the Fever to Our Lady of the Fever
See also the survival, in the Italian South, of the Greek notion of the ‘envious’ gods:
I hope all is well with you all.
Too late to say anything else. See you tomorrow.
Update. What I had to say I have posted over at the Manius Papirius Lentulus blog dialogue section. Here it is.
Regarding this painting by Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1836–1912) Jenny had asked :
“I need to know which (favorite) poet the Roman women are reading in that painting. I just ordered Slavitt’s translation of Ovid’s Love Poems, Letters and Remedies. Looks great.”
MoR: “According to Rosemary J. Barrow (*L. Alma-Tadema*, Phaidon 2001) the poet is divine *Horace* – I add links for the sake of new readers, and basically am a pedantic teacher to the marrow -, who was from *Venusia*, South Italy, today’s Venosa in Mezzogiorno’s Lucania also called Basilicata.
[Incidentally, Rosaria's personal account on his town, with Orazio's statue in the main piazza, and the bay-leaves crown the best school students received, similar to the one Orazio's statue wears, is so compelling]
The bronze wall panel behind the 2 Roman women in Tadema’s gorgeous painting has inscribed a few words by Horace. The title of my Manius soap (Misce stultitiam consiliis: Add Folly to Wisdom) is taken from Horace (4 Odes, xii. 28), and the ‘act’ the buddies in the plot perform in the taberna (read Chanting in an Ænglisc taberna) is one of Horace most perfect choral songs from the *Carmen Saeculare* (Song of the Ages!), probably his most perfect (and classical in the real-deal sense of the term) poem.
Horace (together with Vergil) is Rome’s bard and his poems were sacred to the Romans – no easy stuff, Horace; Lord Byron confessed he couldn’t understand Horatius Flaccus; but I believe every minute spent on Horace’s lines is worthwhile – although sacred, I don’t mean it in the sense of the Judeo-Christian ‘Revealed Writ’ of course. For that – revealed-by-god(s) words – you have to turn, outside the Jewish tradition, to the amazing Orphic Greek literature, for example, which I’m sipping here and there and find terribly inspiring.
Horace was the most loved ancient poet in 19th century England. His tone befitted the Victorians who kinda felt like the spirituals heirs of the Romans. He was also fun like most Roman writers (he for ex. preferred the liberty of loving slaves or unintelligent women, since Roman matrons were a headache to him, a tad too matriarchal perhaps, but basically I think he didn’t find a long-for-life love (Vergil did, probably, but I guess it was a man) and most of all Horace is the real classical thing more than Vergil in some way, while Tibullus and Catullus (and Vergil) were a bit more … romantic since – so darn interesting for the Manius’ blog – they were Italian Celts from North Italy, id est continental Celts, id est cousins to insular, British-Isles, Celts.
I absolutely adore Tibullus and his elegies, so beautiful & melancholic, and Clelia (Tibullus’ true love – see a painting below- : differently from Horace he was more or less monogamous: Clelia not by chance is Manius’s lost love too.
[Tadema painted Tibullus at Clelia's, and Catullus at Lesbia's - see above and below. How could he not ]
But Manius is not monogamous. Massimo, the positive hero, is.
Ovid is a sparkling choice Jenny. His verses are peculiar, naturally flowing, and possibly much more fun than all the poets I’ve mentioned.
ALL these poets are the best Rome could give and were much deeper than the coeval Greek literature, that was extremely refined but void and spineless. Catullus was another first class Italian Celtic poet, very romantic as well. He was in love with the sluttish Clodia he calls Lesbia.
True Romans from Rome were – and still are – not much romantic (in both the arts and common sense of the term); Manius, Massimo, Giorgio (and myself) are partly true Romans, partly North Italian Celtic, so they are a tad romantic too (I guess it takes also bad weather to be ‘romantic’ lol).
I mean, it all fits together perhaps – or so it seems to the Man of Roma (now Manius)
Then Paul Costopoulos had said:
“Now, Manius, I have a throwing dagger but what tells you how I will use it the only time I will be able to throw it because retrieving it once thrown is rather problematic.
Not being a Roman and being a merchant why would I hurt potential costumers?
Of course you are my friend and that could cause me some scruples and those guys do seem to be cutthroats so they could also be out to cut mine, they seem to be somewhat xenophobic.
All considered, I will side with you after all.”
MoR: ” Being a merchant why would I hurt potential costumers?
Right Paul, you got into the Pavlos character as I see it at least, probably because it’s part of you despite what you may think who knows.
To me Pavols is a symbol par excellence of the Mediterranean Man ready to survive in every circumstance and to exchange knowledge goods symbols experiences with a wonderful good nature – given to him by Helios ok – but with an admirable life balance reached tho thru horrible toil it must be said:
the Med, one often forgets, is a ruthless stepmother and no fertile area as the Nordic European lands.
One reason why the Germans are so big compared to the Greco-Romans and successive Mediterranean people: their climate may be horrible but they got BEEFY in the course of the centuries from the beefy cattle that got (and still gets) BIG – as them – from the fat-and-so-green-from-rain darn grass)
« La rareté en Mediterranée – Fernand Braudel écrit – des vrais pâturage. Elle entraîne le petit nombre des bovin … pour l’homme du Nord le bétail de la Méditerranée semble déficient. La Méditerranée, II, pp. 290-291, Livre de Poche »
You add, Paul:
Now, Manius, I have a throwing dagger but what tells you how I will use it the only time I will be able to throw it because retrieving it once thrown is rather problematic.
Well well, I don’t think this to be a problem. I had added the following italic text (but had to prune this and other stuff, it was too verbose:
“Pavlos pulled out an inlaid-with-gold throwing dagger that he always carried with him (even in bed?). He had already shown his ability to use it with deadly precision..
If you have even a colossus before you – Ulysses had one-eyed Polyphemus – you can dispatch him in a second by throwing dagger hurled into the left or right eye (your choice).
But, true, both the Romans & their Greek copain then would all be slaughtered by the rest of the Angles. So yes, Pavols waits for the events to unfold.
MoR: “A side note à propos de Ulysess. In the winter of 1938, at the age of 45, your father’s countryman Nikos Kazantzakis from Crete (1883 – 1957) published his “Odyssey” (a modern Sequel) in Athens. A huge tome of 835 pages in 24 books with 33,333 verses!
[visit Nikos Kazantzakis' virtual museum]
There’s a good English translation by a Greek American, Kimon Friar (Simon & Schuster, NY 1958).
The two worked together for a long time in order to achieve a good translation. I, being a book maniac, have it on my shelves but have sipped only here and there.
It is as BEEFY as the Germans mamma mia!!”
As for the adventures of Manius Papirius Lentulus in Ancient Britannia [Misce Sultitiam Consiliis: Add Folly to Wisdom] I’ve not been idle.
1) I am translating all that has been written so far into decent enough Italian (harder than I thought)
2) as for the new chapters (like the latest and the one in preparation) I first write in Italian and later only I translate all into English. It is quicker and at this point I need it.
3) I am inserting Andy’s editing into my English text. Andy, this extremely nice English blogger I just met face to face in Milan, is very respectful of my weird English. He just corrects evident mistakes.
4) I got new ideas in Milan about how one can write in two languages at the same time. I in fact there met Christian Floquet face to face, ie a half French half Italian extremely nice person (his Italian half is Calcagni-Negroni, so he, well, is my cousin – I told you blogs are also great for meeting people in real life, wow). Ok. Now Christian (who lives both in Paris and in Milan) happens to teach translation at the Milan University.
He told me of this writer who, while writing novels in two languages at the same time, lost his vein at a certain point (if I recall well). So what he did he began to learn another language in order to get his inspiration back. Amazing. Not that I feel I’m a writer, no, but since, well, I write, such examples are inspiring (and consoling). Merci Christian!
A fifth point will soon appear, ie the categories (or lexicon) I have conceived for the Manius / Massimo etc. soap, which may provide an idea of where I’m aiming at and of the mixture of stultitia (folly) and consilium (wisdom) I am planning.
Note. Misce stultitiam consiliis is meant to mean ‘mix folly with wisdom’ although sapientia is the right word for wisdom.
Misce stultitiam sapientiae? We will see. Sapientia (wisdom in all its ancient & modern, philosophical & theological, meanings) is in fact – as Cicero put it (I, Off. c. 43) – congnitio rerum omnium (knowledge of all things), tum humanorum, tum divinarum (those that are human, and those that are divine).
Big deal thing, I know.
[Per i lettori italiani.
Un nuovo blog, Pagine del Man of Roma, in cui sto mettendo brani significativi del MoR in italiano.
La soap sull'antica Britannia la sto scrivendo anche in italiano]
Thus said, cercando di non fare i tronfioni e di essere obiettivi (English translation in progress) il 9 settembre 2007 cominciai un blog in inglese perché:
1) era difficile
2) dopo 16 anni di IT volevo riprendere gli studi umanistici
3) la lingua di Shakespeare, meravigliosa, speravo aprisse a una varietà di interlocutori eccitante
4) volevo praticare la dialettica, mito della mia generazione ma di valore universale
5) volevo focalizzare il lavoro sulla romanness, verificando eventuali nessi, di qualsiasi tipo, tra i romani dell’antichità e i romani – italiani (e oltre) – di oggi (la romanitas si dispiegò infatti su un impero vasto).
Come è andata?
Io credo bene. In modo non sistematico:
214 scritti (non tantissimi forse nell’arco di quasi 4 anni ma molti sono saggi ben sudati), 5.281 commenti (tanti, molti dei quali più lunghi del post che li aveva stimolati). Praticamente, tra articoli e commenti, “un librone di diverse migliaia di pagine” in cui gli interventi (al 99% in inglese) sono spesso più elevati degli scritti stessi. Ci sono anche i miei commenti e, wel well, i miei lettori sanno che sono un bel chiacchierone (chatter-box).
Estrema varietà degli interlocutori. Eccitante dicevo. In ordine alfabetico:
America, Australia, Austria, Brasile, Canada, China, Francia, Germania, Gran Bretagna, India, Irlanda, Italia, Messico, Nuova Zelanda e Svezia.
Viaggio di esplorazione. Questo per me e spero per i lettori è stato il Man of Roma:
Un girovagare imparando cose belle insieme, un dialogo continuo (estenuante a volte), uno studio tosto da parte di chi scrive (fa bene, ok, ma ‘na faticaccia …).
Nel fondo ero e rimango un insegnante, fiero del mestiere che ho fatto per più di 30 anni, un dare e soprattutto un ricevere che riscalda il cuore prima della mente.
Verifica dello strumento dialettico. La tecnica dialettica – inventata forse da Socrate e Platone 2400 anni fa (ma esistono dialettiche orientali efficacissime, vedi il link subito sopra) – per come la vedo io è:
A. dialogo con noi stessi sui temi che ci appassionano
B. Dialogo con libri testi e pagine (anche web) validi (non si cresce senza dialogare con menti migliori della nostra).
Consiglio lo studio attento di scritti frammentari o zibaldoni (l’efficacia dell’esempio vivo!) poiché il pensiero in progress ci fa teste pensanti (thinking people) per naturale imitazione, piccole teste o grandi chissenefrega (who the hell cares), l’importante è pensare con la nostra testa, diritto sancito da ogni costituzione democratica.
Personalmente ho imparato tantissimo dallo Zibaldone di Leopardi, dai saggi di Montaigne e soprattutto dai Quaderni del carcere di Antonio Gramsci, autore oggi riscoperto a livello globale (dalla destra e dalla sinistra americana, in India, in Inghilterra ecc.) non per il suo essere marxista (il marxismo è morto, pace all’anima sua) ma per il suo essere pensatore geniale, utilissimo.
Presto vorrei meglio approcciare gli essais (1rst & 2nd series) & lectures di Ralph Waldo Emerson, forse il più grande intellettuale americano che, for some weird reason, è a me molto affine.
[Anche la poesia, attenzione, di ogni genere e popolo, è strumento -cognitivo e artistico- micidiale]
C. Dialogo con gente in carne ed ossa, dovunque è possibile (amici, caffè, strada). I blog? Per loro natura dilatano il dialogo e naturalmente con l’uso di una lingua franca il livello di tale dilatazione è potenzialmente altissimo.
Infine, ‘romanità’ ieri e oggi. E qui concludo perché credo che l’audience del blog (not too far from half a million hits, specie considerando argomenti non proprio semplici direi) sia dovuta proprio a questo:
al meraviglioso mondo di Roma raccontato da un ‘uomo medio’ in tutte le salse possibili. Da uno cioè nato e vissuto quaggiù, ie a witness from right there.
Ringrazio con affetto tutti quelli che mi hanno seguito e che ho seguito nei loro blog.
THIS IS NOT A FAREWELL, IT’S A NEW BEGINNING! [had to add this since a few readers were worried: see comments below].
That the journey continue! I do love you ALL (and you know it damn!)
Man of Roma
Post correlati (bilanci, audience e temi, man mano che il blog cresceva):
[Related posts (assessment, audience & themes as the blog progressed in time]
Rome, April 2004. 6 o’clock of a cold but bright morning.
I am looking at the Roman rooftops, sitting in my terrace. It’s almost dawn and I’m cold.
You know, I had two sisters and 8 female first cousins and I met him when we were 3-4. He therefore became my eldest brother.
I have heard him on the telephone the night before after many years of silence.
So now on my terrace on the first shred of paper I found I’m quickly jotting down the words I have in my head for fear of forgetting them.
Words thrown spontaneously – and a bit savage too perhaps.
1950s-1960s remote, antediluvian stuff?
What can I say, we lived in immediate post-war Italy. Judge for yourself.
For My Eldest Brother
My friend, companion of happy adventures
during the prime of life,
at 6 in a Roman morning,
a cold breeze running over the rooftops
of a pagan city,
you, companion and brother,
I here come to celebrate
as in an ancient rite,
a pencil splashing words
rapidly on a page,
words alive, unlaboured.
You taught me to enjoy this life,
its primordial side and strength;
I, more fearful,
brought up in a world of women,
was taught by you manly ways,
the male attributes, or nuts,
that you always had,
and have: do not forget!
Oh fuck, male attributes,
may the Lord be thanked!
In a world full of empty
jaded and phony people,
you always were an example,
my friend and brother,
of strength and courage
much more than my father.
You – and my mother’s brothers
so dear and much much loved.
And my father,
who meant a great deal,
from him I took other things.
But you were so much to me.
One more year is a lot
when one is so young,
It helps to establish a primacy
that I always have recognized you.
And here, on this small terrace
of the city of Rome,
in front of the ancient temples
of our primogenial culture,
I honour you,
my eldest brother;
I celebrate you, that primacy still recognizing
not solely because of age.
At this point red wine I would drink
(but it is early in the morning…)
the full-bodied red Tuscan wine
of our wonderful winter evenings
in our countryside – do you recall? -
when, roasted meat over embers
the Dionysian pleasures
of meat and wine you delivered
and of the women
taken by the hair
and gently, strongly,
The breeze is now warmer.
Words begin to fail.
I only hope,
dear friend, my strong companion
and eldest brother,
to have conveyed to you
these memories, these emotions
during abrupt awakening
after a phone call.
[Translation by Geraldine]
[This sweet, generous Celtic woman
is not responsible for the 'bad words'
that are mine since how
could she understand them
plus Google translator
doesn't provide help on that]
Note. I had talked to him the night before on the phone, as I’ve said. We hadn’t seen or talked to each other since years.
That is probably why I woke with a start at 5:30 am with my head so full of that joy – the years of infancy and adolescence, any reader knows them: we spent them together in the Arezzo’s countryside every single summer of the 1950s-1960s .
Joys (and sorrows) but all lived with exuberance and almost violent intensity.
He had a house across from mine but when we first saw each other over the wall (I was alone, he with his grandma, a gentle lady as of from an old-time painting, we had 3-4 years) we did not like each other at all. He looked prissy and too well-groomed to my taste.
Then one day his mother took him to our house for an official visit (the two mums were close friends). Disturbed we were a bit so we began to throw pebbles at a can placed at 10 yards from where we were on a stone table, just to kill moodiness. He was a year older.
The throwing-pebbles-at-a-can thing triggered ALL. We have never left each other since then (apart from a few intervals.) Thing being our brains knew how to fly together, and we laughed and laughed and we laughed out loud. His mind, odd and humorous, was rich with ideas.
In the picture below I am 18. From then on we had the first break. A long one.
Now that we are old (or almost) we feel even closer and there won’t be intervals any more.
It’s this desire we have to stay close at the end of a marvellous adventure we did begin together, in the company also of the loved ones from his side and from my side – who make our life more human (and who console us of its miseries.)
Read 2 of our first adventures with the ‘other sex’: