“INTERREGNUM”, by Pina Piccolo, English translation by Don Stang and Pina Piccolo

To mark the six-month milestone of the refurbished  blog, today I want to acknowledge long time friends who have been part of my literary adventures: Don Stang and Helen Wickes, whom I greatly respect as people, translators and Helen as a poet.

I’ll start publishing a joint effort between Don Stang and myself, the English translation of the poem “Interregno”, a very difficult one to render into English as it is inextricably tied to Italian intellectual tropes and environments. It is the poem that opens my Italian poetry collection Canti dell’Interregno (Lebeg 2018), a sort of  manifesto.



Pina Piccolo



The walls of Jericho

didn’t fall at the cry

of the ram’s horn

Sheltered in its mysterious void

threadbare angels

In flight from the whirling

human interregnum

that infamous interstice

evoked by the brain

of the red Sardinian

long imprisoned

behind the walls

Such an inconvenient figure


“The crisis consists precisely in the fact

that the old is dying and the new cannot yet be born;

in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear”


That song croaked by the magpie,

less a thief than princely gift-giver

scattering truths in the air

in the garden of the asylum

among the dust of the foundations

demolished by real estate speculation

“Hologram!  Illusion!”

Croaked the magpie of the program

discussed at the Palace

“Shackles and contagions”

Not wild dogs

Nor nutria nor rats


in your corporatizing

national health system


Morbid symptom

of the rose of the rose of the rose

grown in the Rift Valley of Kenya

Black hands have cared for it, caressed

then harvested, shipped in the hold and then it was flown

and landed, for an hour warehoused and then

through the streets of Palermo of Bologna of Torino

a Bengali slightly more than a child

offered it to me for half a Euro

because it was a day past fresh



let our strength not be undercut

in the interregnum

among unhealthy syndromes

irradiated shrouds

anthropogenic changes

anthropological mutations

and rebellions

constitutional crumblings

and the collapse of nations

In the interstices

wanders the voice

flows the note

resetting the compass                                          

Like the ark

hoping and waiting




Translated by Donald Stang and Pina Piccolo