And the days are not full enough
And the nights are not full enough
And life slips by like a field mouse
Not shaking the grass.
Ezra Pound (1885-1972) – Lustra (1916)
This poem says a lot about the transience of life in a few, simple words.
It starts with the word “and” to sound like the conclusion of a speech, of a thought or rumination that has been going on for some time.
The careful use of repetition and parallelism in the first two lines reproduces the monotony of day after day life, and prepares for the change in the last lines. The words “not full enough” suggest that we do not use life to its full potential: our days could be spent more fruitfully.
Then, suddenly, we realize life is too short to be relied upon, it never gives us all the time to be and do what we want to. This is achieved through the only image of the poem which draws reference to nature and a mouse, and illustrates how fleeting life is: it quickly “slips by“, as insignificant and irrelevant as that of a mouse.
Therefore, we should make use of life to its full potential and of our time wisely: life is to be enjoyed and lived in every moment.
E i giorni non sono abbastanza pieni
e le notti non sono abbastanza piene
e la vita scivola via come un topo di campagna
che non fa muovere l’erba.