Samuel Beckett: “l’acte calme”

“But habit is a great deadener” (Vladimir: Waiting for Godot)

à elle l’acte calme

to her the calm act
the savant pores the sex easygoing
waiting not too slow regretting not too long the absence
in the service of presence
a few tatters of azure in the head the points finally dead of the heart
all the tardy grace of a rain ceasing
at the fall of a night
of August

to her empty
him pure
of love


This poem offers a series of dualisms such as she/he, absence/presence, head/heart or even waiting/regretting and seems to suggests that time and habit are the great enemies of love.
We have the image of this woman who stands before her partner, confident and attractive but we realize his passion has waned.
Therefore, even though his body can perform the “act” automatically, this act has lost its passion, has become “calm”, more friendly than ardent.

“Mais l’habitude est une grande sourdine.” (Vladimir: En attendant Godot)

à elle l’acte calme

les pores savants le sexe bon enfant
l’attente pas trop lente les regrets pas trop longs l’absence
au service de la présence
les quelques haillons d’azur dans la tête les points enfin morts du cœur
toute la tardive grâce d’une pluie cessant
au tomber d’une nuit

à elle vide
lui pur

“Ma l’abitudine è una grande sordina.” (Vladimir: Aspettando Godot)

a lei l’atto tranquillo

i pori esperti il sesso bonario
l’attesa non troppo lenta i rimpianti non troppo lunghi l’assenza
al servizio della presenza
i pochi brandelli azzurri nella testa i punti finalmente morti del cuore
tutta la grazia tardiva di una pioggia che cessa
al calar di una notte

a lei vuota
lui puro


21 thoughts on “Samuel Beckett: “l’acte calme”

  1. oggi mi hai fatta felice! hai aggiunto anche una splendida frase di “Aspettando Godot!” che è la prima opera tetrale che vidi a 14 anni con mio padre al piccolo a Milano! mi hai fatto ricordate tempi magnifici..e te ne ringrazio e anche per la traduzione come sempre splendida! buone feste amica mia al 28 di gennaio!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Luisa, you have an uncanny knack of understanding the silence behind the words. That’s an extraordinary gift 😊 and Beckett was right. Time and familiarity often dampens passion, which is always (In my opinion) more of a fireball when spontaneity is what drives the passion.
    By the way, I wish the the very best of what 2021 has to offer you, your family and friends. 😊♥️

    Liked by 1 person

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