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Salvatore Quasimodo: Enemy of Death

quasimodosalvatore 01

Salvatore Quasimodo


Enemy of Death

(For Rossana Sironi)


You should not have

ripped out your image

taken from us, from the world,

a portion of beauty.

What can we do

we enemies of death,

bent to your feet of rose,

your breast of violet?

Not a word, not a scrap

of your last day, a No

to earth’s things, a No

to our dull human record.

The sad moon in summer,

the dragging anchor, took

your dreams, hills, trees,

light, waters, darkness,

not dim thoughts but truths,

severed from the mind

that suddenly decided,

time and all future evil.

Now you are shut

behind heavy doors

enemy of death.


Who cries?

You have blown out beauty

with a breath, torn her,

dealt her the death-wound,

without a tear

for her insensate shadow’s

spreading over us.

Destroyed solitude,

and beauty, failed.

You have signalled

into the dark,

inscribed your name in air,

your No

to everything that crowds here

and beyond the wind.

I know what you were

looking for in your new dress.

I understand the unanswered question.

Neither for you nor us, a reply.

Oh, flowers and moss,

Oh, enemy of death.


Salvatore Quasimodo poetry poetry magazine

More in: Archive Q-R

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