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THE SHADOW
by Carlo Betocchi
(translated by Geoffrey Brock)

One spring day I saw
the shadow of a strawberry tree
lying on the moor
like a shy lamb asleep.

Its heart was far away,
suspended in the sky,
brown in a brown veil,
in the sun’s eye.

The shadow played in the wind,
moving there alone
to make the tree content.
Here and there it shone.

It knew no pain, no haste,
wanting only to feel morning,
then noon, then the slow-paced
journey of evening.

Among all the shadows always
joining eternal shadow,
shrouding the earth in falseness,
I loved this steady shadow.

And thus, at times, it descends
among us, this meek semblance,
and lies down, as if drained,
in grass and in patience.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Carlo Betocchi (1899-1986) was an Italian writer who led a double life, working for decades as a surveyor and engineer building bridges, roads, and canals, while helping to found the influential literary journal, Il Frontespizio. His Tutte le poesie (Complete poems) appeared in 1984.

 NOTE: Arbutus unedo (strawberry tree, occasionally cane apple) is an evergreen shrub or small tree in the family Ericaceae, native to the Mediterranean region and western Europe north to western France and Ireland. (Source: wikipedia.org.)

PHOTO: Arbutus unedo (strawberry tree)