The Numbering at Bethlehem After Pieter Bruegel They have not gathered to enjoy themselves, their full pockets will soon be emptied. A mother struggles to hold her little boy next to the tax gatherer’s desk. A woman cooks outside, her two children play nearby, her husband hurries to help; the axe on the long trunks. Some other men, husbands no doubt, stop working to chat. The pond is crowded with ice-skating kids and men with backs bent by baskets. On a mule’s back, a woman in a blue mantle and a man slip in among the others. The carts left outside overnight are covered with a mantle of snow. Sense of Things After Wallace Stevens The snow has fallen and gone like a lost precious jewel we held in our hands. It's not easy to express this feeling: it’s the return to the world of logic after having savoured the magic. It's time of disillusion after a fleeting joy given by the sky. Yet human strength carries on, a rose is blooming in the icy cold. My dear, Counting the days before your arrival, I dream of you. You don't know me yet but I promise it will be fun together. We will be in the kitchen fire-fighting on the biggest truck ever seen, will sail the most dangerous waves on a pirate boat in the bathroom sink. As I look around, Christmas decorations loop from everywhere and windows stop people in the streets. I feel Pinocchio in the Land of Toys. Should I regret to be a child still, though I am an adult? I can't wait to hold you; so delicate and precious. You will smile. And I will be yours. Your aunt (After a line from Hartley Coleridge)
Chiara Salomoni is Italian and lives in London. She graduated in Oriental Languages and Literature (specialising in Chinese studies) from Ca’ Foscari University. Some of her English poems appear on Vivienne Westwood’s Climate Revolution website and on The Blue Nib Digital Platform. Her translation of Silvio Ramat’s poem was given an Honorable Mention in the Stephen Spender Prize in 2014. In 2015 she read from her translations of Andrea Zanzotto at the Poetry Library in London. One of her translations of Zanzotto and her homage were published in Poem in 2018. One of her children’s poems was on a poetry illustration display at the Royal Marsden Hospital in collaboration with Sutton High School at the beginning of 2020. Her translations of three poems by Corrado Govoni appear on The Blue Nib Digital Platform. She is a member of the Tideway Poets.