An On-Time Song-Time Sunday!

No excuses this week, I’m getting this done the day it’s supposed to!  This is especially important because I have discovered a new Italian musician!  Actually, he was making music from the late 50’s until his death in 1999 – Fabrizio de André!

I actually came upon his music on an Italian circus performer’s Tumblr blog, because this performer does an act to one of de André’s songs.  I did a little research and found that de André did a couple covers/translations of Leonard Cohen songs (“Suzanne” and “Joan of Arc”), and that sold me even more.  He’s a really incredible singer and songwriter.

And without further ado, I’ll post one of the songs that I think I’d like to try and incorporate in my show if at all possible: “La Guerra di Piero.”

Lyrics:

Dormi sepolto in un campo di grano
Non e’ la rosa, non e’ il tulipano
Che ti fan veglia dall’ombra dei fossi
Ma sono mille papaveri rossi
Lungo le sponde del mio torrente
Voglio che scendano i lucci argentati
Non piu’ i cadaveri dei soldati
Portati in braccio dalla corrente
Cosi’ dicevi ed era inverno
E come gli altri verso l’inferno
Te ne vai triste come chi deve
Il vento ti sputa in faccia la neve
Fermati Piero, fermati adesso
Lascia che il vento ti passi un po’ addosso
Dei morti in battaglia ti porti la voce
Chi diede la vita ebbe in cambio una croce
Ma tu non lo udisti e il tempo passava
Con le stagioni a passo di giava
Ed arrivasti a passar la frontiera
In un bel giorno di primavera
E mentre marciavi con l’anima in spalle
Vedesti un uomo in fondo alla valle
Che aveva il tuo stesso identico umore
Ma la divisa di un altro colore
Sparagli Piero, sparagli ora
E dopo un colpo sparagli ancora
Fino a che tu non lo vedrai esangue
Cadere in terra a coprire il suo sangue
E se gli sparo in fronte o nel cuore
Soltanto il tempo avra’ per morire
Ma il tempo a me restera’ per vedere
Vedere gli occhi di un uomo che muore
E mentre gli usi questa premura
Quello si volta, ti vede e ha paura
Ed imbracciata l’artiglieria
Non ti ricambia la cortesia
Cadesti a terra senza un lamento
E ti accorgesti in un solo momento
Che il tempo non ti sarebbe bastato
A chieder perdono per ogni peccato
Cadesti a terra senza un lamento
E ti accorgesti in un solo momento
Che la tua vita finiva quel giorno
E non ci sarebbe stato un ritorno
Ninetta mia crepare di maggio
Ci vuole tanto troppo coraggio
Ninetta bella dritto all’inferno
Avrai preferito andarci in inverno
E mentre il grano ti stava a sentire
Dentro alle mani stringevi un fucile
Dentro alla boca stringevi parole
Troppo gelate per sciogliersi al sole
Dormi sepolto in un campo di grano
Non e la rosa, non e il tulipano
Che ti fan veglia dall’ombra dei fossi
Ma sono mille papaveri rossi

Translation:

You sleep buried in a wheat field
it’s not the rose, it’s not the tulip
watching on you from the shadow of ditches
but it’s a thousand red poppies.
Along the bedsides of my creek
I want the silver pikes to swim downhill,
not the soldiers’ bodies
cradled by the stream.
You said so, and it was winter
and, like the others, towards hell
you go sadly as the ones who must
the wind spits snow on your face.
Stop Piero, stop now,
let the wind pass a little on you
so that it brings you the voice of the dead in a battle
who gave his life had a cross back.
But you didn’t hear it and time went on
with the seasons with a dancing pace
and you came to cross the frontier
on a beautiful springtime day.
And while you were marching with your soul on your shoulders
you saw a man at the bottom of the valley
who was in your same identical mood
but his uniform was of a different colour
Shoot him, Piero, shoot him now
and after a shot, shoot him again
until you see him lifeless
fall down and cover his own blood
And if I shoot on his forehead or on his heart
he’ll have only time to die
but I’ll have time left to see
see the eyes of a dying man
And while you are giving him this thoughtfulness
that one turns, sees you and gets afraid
and, grabbing his gun
he doesn’t pay your courtesy back
You fell to the ground without a moan
and you noticed in a blink
that your time wouldn’t be enough
to ask for forgiveness for every sin of yours.
You fell to the ground without a moan
and you noticed in a blink
that your life was through that day
and there would be no return.
My Ninetta, to die on May
you need so much, too much courage
Beautiful Ninetta, straight to hell
I had rather have gone this winter
And as the wheat was listening to you
inside your hands you held a gun
inside your mouth you held words
too icy to melt with the sun.
You sleep buries in a wheat field
it’s not the rose, it’s not the tulip
watching on you from the shadow of ditches
but it’s a thousand red poppies.

Lyrics and translation from: http://lyricstranslate.com

What an intense song, no?  I feel as though it is especially important to me and to my show for several reasons.  First of all, the Widow’s husband has just died in war – most likely a war he didn’t understand or didn’t believe in.  Secondly, my grandfather’s name was Pietro, and Piero is really quite close.  It also reminds me of my favorite commedia dell’arte stock character, Pedrolino – called “Pierrot” in the French version.

I think it’s pretty clear how I feel about war – based on this song selection, but also on the subject matter of my Div III show and my main interests.  I love Southern Italy for so many reasons, not least of which that it has been populated by individuals who, far too often, go unheard, but whose services – whether they be agricultural or military – are indispensable.

How are things like this still happening in the world?  We know how terrible war is – we know the value of human life, of human abilities.  And we still go on destroying it.

Well, I’m starting to preach a little, and that’s never really my intention, so perhaps I should move on.  I hope that everyone has enjoyed hearing Fabrizio de André!  Perhaps I’ll post some of his other music later on down the line.

Ciao!

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About lapiccolacoccinella

I consistently have trouble with self-definition, but I'll give it my best shot here.... I am a twentysomething Italian-American woman from New England who loves clowning and cats and goth subculture and animanga and art and writing and books. I am an aspiring author and artist who currently blogs for Amazing Stories Magazine. I love getting feedback and advice from readers in order to allow my work to grow. View all posts by lapiccolacoccinella

2 responses to “An On-Time Song-Time Sunday!

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