This lonely hill has always
Been dear to me, and this thicket
Which shuts out most of the final
Horizon from view. I sit here,
And gaze, and imagine
The interminable spaces
That stretch away, beyond my mind,
Their uncanny silences, Their profound calms;
It was always dear to me, this solitary hill,
and this hedgerow here, that closes off my view,
from so much of the ultimate horizon.
But sitting here, and watching here,
in thought, I create interminable spaces,
greater than human silences, and deepest
quiet, where the heart barely fails to terrify.
This solitary hill has always been dear to me
And this hedge, which prevents me from seeing most of
The endless horizon.
But when I sit and gaze, I imagine, in my thoughts
Endless spaces beyond the hedge,
An all encompassing silence and a deeply profound quiet,
To the point that my heart is almost overwhelmed.
I’ve always loved this hermit’s hill,
the hedgerow here that mostly hides the view
of where, far off, earth meets the sky.
But sitting, gazing, I can dream
unbounded spaces past that line
and suprahuman silences,
a final depth of quietness,
where for a little while the heart
is not afraid.
Giacomo Leopardi, “L’infinito”
So if you read my last post, “Beware: Artistry Kills,” you’ll be familiar with the name Giacomo Leopardi (1798-1837) now. He’s the smooth-talking operator who wrote himself into the grave through his poetry.
I was curious, though, was his stuff any good? Although I feel more comfortable being Judgy McJudge when it comes to fiction and non-fiction, I always go with my gut when reading poetry. And my sense with this poem is that it’s got a voice and a viewpoint, two critical things every decent artist requires.