Prima della rivoluzione

''Those who have not lived the years
before the revolution
cannot understand
the sweetness of life. ''Talleyrand
A Sunday in April 1962,
just before Easter, in Parma.
And yet I came to you, Church.
Pascal and the Greek Cantos
I held tight in my hand.

''With new dreams
the Resistance brushed away

the dream of the regions
federated in Christ

and its burning
sweet nightingale...

Damn those who do not know
that this Christian faith
is bourgeois,

in its every privilege,
every surrender, every subjugation.
That sin is nothing more
than the crime of
disturbing daily certainties,

hated for fear and aridity.
That the Church
is the ruthless heart of the State. ''
As if in a dream I find myself
before the city's gates,

the bastions, the toll gates,
the bell towers like minarets,
domes like hills of stone,
the grey roofs, the open terraces,
and below
the streets, neighborhoods,
the squares,

the Square,
and through the middle
the river, the Parma,

which divides the two cities,
the rich from the poor.

And again the Square,
so much in the city's center,
and yet so close to the fields,

that on some nights
you can smell the hay.

The square, which feels like
a walled arena when we're inside.

There, I move amid figures
who are out of step, remote.

Figures for whom only the
Church existed before,