I imagine them lying
to anxious friends wishing me
happiness at the end of my years.
I write in the dark, always
in a state of refusal, as if
I were paying a disagreeable debt,
a debt many years old.
No, there’s no more pleasure
in this exercise. People tease me:
You thought you were making Art,
You wrote for Art’s sake!
That’s not it, I wanted something else.
You tell me if it was something more,
or less: I think one writes
to shake off an unbearable weight,
to pass it on to whoever comes after.
But there was always too much weight:
the poems aren’t strong enough
if even I can’t remember a line
by the next day.
–after Vittorio Sereni