Here in This Spring
Here in this spring, stars float along the void;
Here in this ornamental winter
Down pelts the naked weather;
This summer buries a spring bird.
Symbols are selected from the years’
Slow rounding of four seasons’ coasts,
In autumn teach three seasons’ fires
And four birds’ notes.
I should tell summer from the trees, the worms
Tell, if at all, the winter’s storms
Or the funeral of the sun;
I should learn spring by the cuckooing,
And the slug should teach me destruction.
A worm tells summer better than the clock,
The slug’s a living calendar of days;
What shall it tell me if a timeless insect
Says the world wears away
Despite the title, this poem is not a celebration of springtime, but it is about the passing of time and the endless cycle of life, death, rebirth.
In an immortal universe we should pay attention to the signs given by nature, in the various seasons, since the weather may represent both the natural environment and our inner climate, linking man with universe.
The poet goes through all the four seasons, each of which is seen here and now, observed by means of some of its symbols.
He starts with man confronting the void and getting the threatening idea of nothingness in spring, which is generally viewed as a time of vitality and fertility.
Winter, on the contrary, is considered ornamental despite its storms, maybe for its whiteness, its snow, which give an idea of joy and celebrations.
Summer is first represented by the sad image of the death of a bird, born some months earlier. Next, by the trees, and finally by the worms and “ the funeral of the sun”. These two give a sense of decay, the decadence of everything which will be reunited with nature.
Spring is symbolized by the cuckoo – a bird regarded in sharply contrasting ways . either its harbinger or a destroyer and parasite. While other birds are absent, the female of the cuckoo lays her eggs in their nests: she lifts an egg out of the nest, swallows it or drops it, and very quickly lays one. When the cuckoo egg hatches, generally before its nest mates, the baby cuckoo pushes out of the nest the other unhatched eggs.
Here we don’t have a spiritual meditation on death, but a sort of cold scientific reasoning.
Our perception of time and change and the juxtaposition of words associated with things considered everlasting (void, sun, timeless) to words related to things that last for a short time (the seasons, birds, worm, slug, insect), suggest that the perception of time is relative.
Perhaps a slug (which should teach me destruction) could teach something different about the concept of the duration of life and eternity.
Qui in questa primavera
Qui in questa primavera le stelle fluttuano nel vuoto;
qui in questo inverno ornamentale
il nudo maltempo scende a scrosci;
questa estate seppellisce un uccello nato in primavera.
Simboli che provengono dal lento procedere degli anni
lungo le coste delle quattro stagioni,
fuochi di tre stagioni insegnano in autunno
e note di quattro uccelli.
Dovrei distinguere l’estate dagli alberi, i vermi
che raccontano, se lo fanno, le tempeste invernali
o il funerale del sole;
dovrei riconoscere la primavera dal cuculo,
e la lumaca dovrebbe insegnarmi la distruzione.
Un verme sa raccontare l’estate meglio dell’orologio,
la lumaca è dei giorni il calendario vivente;
cosa mi dirà se un insetto senza tempo
dice che il mondo si consuma?