Il poeta

Bruno Lauzi (Lauzi al cabaret, 1965)

Alla sera al caffè con gli amici
si parlava di donne e motori
si diceva son gioie e dolori

lui piangeva e parlava di te.

Se si andava in provincia a ballare
si cercava di aver le più belle
lui restava a guardare le stelle
sospirava e parlava di te.

Alle carte era un vero campione
lo chiamavano il ras del quartiere
ma una sera giocando a scopone
perse un punto parlando di te.

Ed infine una notte si uccise
per la gran confusione mentale
un peccato perché era speciale
proprio come parlava di te.

Ora dicono fosse un poeta
che sapesse parlare d’amore
cosa importa se in fondo uno muore
e non può più parlare di te

The Poet

Translated by: Francesco Ciabattoni

In the evening at the coffee place with friends
there was talk of women and engines
they said: “They are joys and sorrows”
he was crying and talking about you.

If we went out to the outskirts to dance
we tried to impress the most beautiful women
but he stood, counting the stars
sighing and talking about you.

He was a champion at playing cards
they called him the boss of the neighborhood
but one evening, as he played cards
he lost a game because he was talking about you.

Eventually one night he killed himself
because of his great mental confusion
that’s a pity because he was special
just like the way he spoke about you.

Now they say he was a poet,
that he could talk about love
what does it matter if, after all, one dies
and can no longer speak about you.

THE POET (By Marianna Orsi, University of Hawaii)

Fernanda Pivano called Bob Dylan “a kind of a twentieth century Homer”, De André “the best poet we have had” and the cantautori “poets of today” (Pivano I miei amici cantautori, Mondadori, 2005). It was the poets themselves who recognized the link between their work and the emerging canzone d’autore. Nobel laureate Salvatore Quasimodo authorized Domenico Modugno to set two of his poems to music. Pier Paolo Pasolini authorized Sergio Endrigo to use verses taken from La meglio gioventù and wrote lyrics for a song by Modugno. Some of the first generation cantautori felt a similar kinship to poetry and poets. Thus, for example, Bruno Lauzi’s 1963 “Il poeta” came to be considered the manifesto of the nascent “Genoese school” and was its author’s favorite, influencing all his subsequent production. The poet of Lauzi’s verses is part of the same community as the song’s narrator, a group of friends who play cards at the bar and go dancing in the outskirts, talking about women and cars.

 

Alla sera al caffè con gli amici
si parlava di donne e motori
si diceva: “Son gioie e dolori”
lui piangeva e parlava di te.

Se si andava in provincia a ballare
si cercava di aver le più belle
lui restava a contare le stelle
sospirava e parlava di te

[In the evening at the coffee place with the friends
there was talk of women and engines
they said: “They are joys and sorrows”
he was crying and talking about you.

If we went out to the outskirts to dance
we tried to impress the most beautiful women
but he stood, counting the stars
sighing and talking about you]

The poet of these lyrics is a similar figure to the song’s protagonist, perhaps even his alter ego. There is no parody of the decadent poet as is found in “I poeti” [‘Poets’] by Roberto Vecchioni and “I poeti” by Pierangelo Bertoli, no sarcasm, despite the apparent irony of the deliberately prosaic and anti-lyrical rhymes donne e motorigioie e dolori, campione – scopone. Music and interpretation express all the melancholy of this figure, in addition to the evident influences of the landscapes of Piero Chiara, for instance, the atmosphere and characters described in Il piatto piange (with Chiara, Lauzi was working just during the the period in which he wrote “Il poeta”), […] The death of the poet and his condition as an outcast (“And finally one night he killed himself / For the great mental confusion / It was a pity because it was special / the way he spoke of you”) hint at the idea of ​​the diminished social role of the poet in the modern world, a theme discussed decades earlier by Guido Gozzano and Crepuscolari poets and also by other contemporary poets. Such images amplify the sense of bewilderment that results in a total loss of value of the human figure of the poet whose death no one cares about (“Now they say he was a poet / who knew how to talk about love / What does it matter if one dies after all / And he can no longer talk about you “)”

 

From Marianna Orsi, “Non so se sono stato mai un poeta e non mi importa niente di saperlo,” in Cantautori e poeti secondo i cantautori, in Musica pop e testi in Italia dal 1960 a oggi, ed. by A. Ciccarelli, M. Migliozzi, M. Orsi Ed., Ravenna, Longo, 2015, pp. 131-151.