September 9th Birthday Love: Cesare Pavese

Cesare Pavese

Words from Confinement

We would go down to the fish market early
to cleanse our vision: the fish were silver,
and scarlet, and green, and the color of sea.
The fish were lovelier than even the sea
with its silvery scales. We thought of return.

Lovely too the women with jars on their heads,
olive-brown clay, shaped softly like thighs:
we each thought of our women, their voices,
their laughs, the way they walked down the street.
And each of us laughed. And it rained on the sea.

In vineyards that cling to cracks in the earth,
water softens the leaves and the grape-stems. The sky
is colored by occasional clouds that redden
with pleasure and sun. On earth, flavors and smells;
in the sky, color. And we were alone there.

We thought of return the way a man thinks
of morning after an utterly sleepless night.
We took pleasure in the color of fish and the glisten
of fruit, all so alive in the musk of the sea.
We were drunk on the thought of impending return.

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