Sull'erba svagata si turba.


Senior Member
Good afternoon, members.

While translating a poem, this one:
I got very confused by one of the lines, not knowing how to interprete it. The line is "Sull' erba svagata si turba.
I understand it is the ribbon of light that like the plaintive turtledove... but then.... what does the ribbon of
light that the turtledove does too?
If I search in my dictionnaries I read a.o. words like 'confused' (for si turba), and 'absent-minded' (for svagata),
but if I read the English translation in the Major Selection of Ungaretti poems, the translator translates as:
'meanders idle on the grass', which - I think- maybe correctly understood, but those are totally different
words than the Ungaretti-ones (very free translated).
Could somebody help me out here, and tell me how to translate correctly, or -at least- give me a hint?

Thanks in advance,
  • Mary49

    Senior Member
    Hi jedna,
    it's a bit difficult for everybody to translate Ungaretti's poems into another language... My feeling is that the verb "si turba" is a synonym for "si agita / si muove", hence the ribbon of light moves/sways carelessly on the grass. I agree with you on the fact that the English translation is completely different from the original.


    Senior Member
    Hello Mary,
    Yes difficult it is!!!! So, if I understand well I could translate like this: (...) the ribbon of light that, likt the plaintive turtledove moves absent-minded on the grass.
    Thank you so much for your quick answering me. Now I can go on, to translate the English one into a satisfactory Dutch version!
    Pleasant week-end and bes wishes,
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