Non chiederci la parola che squadri da ogni lato

Discussion in 'Italian-English' started by Janey UK, Feb 25, 2008.

  1. Janey UK

    Janey UK Senior Member

    Norfolk, England
    Native speaker of British English
    Ciao a tutti!

    I know forum rules prohibit using you good folks as a free translation service, but I"m really struggling with this Montale poem, especially the lines highlighted in bold.

    I've made an attempt at a translation myself, but it sounds terrible!

    Any input will be very gratefully accepted!

    Non chiederci la parola che squadri da ogni lato
    l'animo nostro informe
    , e a lettere di fuoco
    lo dichiari e risplenda come un croco
    Perduto in mezzo a un polveroso prato.



    And now my pitiful attempt!

    Don’t ask us the word that squares off our formless soul from every side
    And in fiery letters declares it, and shines like a crocus
    Lost in the middle of a dusty field.

    ---
    This is as clear as mud to me at the moment :D!

    Grazie in anticipo,

    Jane

    PS - Moderators...if I'm breaking the rules in posting this, feel free to rap me across the knuckles...but not too hard!! ;)

     
  2. Janey UK

    Janey UK Senior Member

    Norfolk, England
    Native speaker of British English
    Ah...yes..I forgot the rules!!! I consider myself rapped on the knuckles! :D
     
  3. brian

    brian Senior Member

    Montréal
    AmE (New Orleans)
    I think the sense is:

    Don't ask us (for) the word that gives shape from/at every angle to our formless soul.

    "Squadrare" certainly means "to square," but that doesn't sound so great in English. I think the idea is basically "to give shape to (what is here shapeless/formless)." And I think "da ogni lato" is much like our "from/at every angle," even if it does literally mean "from every side." :)
     
  4. Janey UK

    Janey UK Senior Member

    Norfolk, England
    Native speaker of British English
    Ah, Brian, you're a natural at this - what a poetic soul you must have! :D Your version sounds infinitely better than mine!

    Now I'll go and create a new post with the next few lines that I'm struggling with, and you can help me with those too! Or would you object if I sent you a PM?

    Thanks for your help, Janey x
     

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