Wet fur


Senior Member
I'm trying to translate a poem (just for the pleasure of doing it), The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner, by Randall Jarrell.

From my mother's sleep I fell into the State,
And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze.
Six miles from earth, loosed from its dream of life,
I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters.

My try:
Morte del mitragliere di torretta.
Dal sopore di mia madre son piombato nello Stato,
rannicchiato nel ventre suo finché non mi si è gelata la pelliccia fradicia.
A sei miglia dalla terra, sganciato dal suo sogno di vita,
destato da un’irosa contraerea e dall’incubo dei caccia.

I do not understand the second line: do you know why he is using the terms 'wet fur'? Is it possible that the author refers to the 'pelle'?
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  • Hi MS,
    It's a controversial poem, and there seems to be some debate as to its meaning.

    But your line in question gives me the sense of a small, helpless furry animal,
    so I'd probably go for the literal:
    ...finchè il mio pelo humedo si era gelato...
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    I thought it could refer either to his jacket or to his fear (his hair wet with cold sweat), TimLa, what do you think about it?
    Thanks a lot, as usual!
    It certainly could be.
    The WWII bomber jackets were leather, like THIS, but there was the "fur" around the collar.
    Would it be translated the same? Pelo?
    Hi TimLa!
    No, unfortunately! Hair is 'pelo' and fur is 'pelliccia', two completely different words! And besides, in Italian we use 'pelo/peli' mainly to refer to the unwanted hair and it is not a nice word. Mhmm, I have to think about it a little more.
    Thanks a lot, TimLa!