Portella della Ginestra

Otello Profazio & Ignazio Buttitta

Nta lu chianu dâ Purtedda chiusa a ‘n menzu a ddu’ muntagni
c’è ‘na petra supra l’erba pi ricordu a li compagni.
A l’addritta nni ‘sta petra a lu tempu di li Fasci (1)
un apostulu parrava di lu beni pi cu nasci.
E di tannu finu a ora a Purtedda dâ Ginestra
quannu veni ‘u primu maggiu ‘i cumpagni fannu festa…

E Giulianu lu sapìa ch’era ‘a festa di li poveri,
‘Na jurnata tutta suli doppu tantu tempu a chiòviri
Cu ballava, cu cantava, cu accurdava li canzuni
E li tavuli cunzati di nuciddi e di turrùni!

Ogni asta di bannera, era zappa, vrazza e manu
Era terra siminata, pani càudu, furnu e granu.

La spiranza d’un dumani chi fa ‘u munnu ‘na famigghia
La vidèvunu vicinu e cuntavunu li migghia,
l’uraturi di ddu jornu jera Japicu Schirò,
dissi: « Viva ‘u primu maggiu », e la lingua ci siccô.

Di lu munti ‘i la Pizzuta ch’è l’artura cchiù vicina
Giulianu e la so banna scatinô ‘a carneficina.

A tappitu e a vintagghiu,
mitragghiavunu la genti
Comi fauci chi meti
cu lu focu ‘ntra li denti,
c’è cu cianci spavintatu,
c’è cu scappa e grida ajutu,
c’è cu jetta ‘i vrazza a l’aria
a difìsa comu scutu..

E li matri cu lu ciatu,
cu lu ciatu – senza ciatu:
– Figghiu miu, corpu e vrazza
comu ‘nchiommur’ aggruppatu!

Doppu un quartu di ddu ‘nfernu, vita, morti e passioni,
‘i briganti si nni jeru senza cchiù munizioni,
arristàr a menzu ô saŋŋu e ‘ntà l’erba di lu chianu,
vinti morti, puvireddi, chi vulìanu un munnu umanu..
E ‘nta l’erba li ciancèru matri e patri agginucchiati,
cu li lacrimi li facci ci lavàvunu a vasàti.

Epifania Barbatu, cu lu figghiu mortu ‘nterra dici:
« A li poveri, puru ccà, ci fannu a guerra… »
Mentri Margarita la Glisceri, ch’era ddà cu cincu fìgghi
arristô morta ammazzata, e ‘nto ventri avea ‘u sestu figghiu…

‘A ‘ddu jornu, fu a Purtedda, cu ci va doppu tant’anni,
vidi morti ‘n carni e ossa, testa, facci, corpa e jammi,
vivi ancora, ancora vivi e ‘na vuci ‘n celu e ‘n terra,
e ‘na vuci ‘n celu e ‘n terra: O justizia, quannu arrivi?
O giustizia, quannu arrivi?!!

Portella della Ginestra

Translated by: Francesco Ciabattoni

On the plain of Portella, closed in by two mountains
stands a rock as memorial to our comrades
To the right of that rock, during Fascism, stood an apostle
who explained to us from where all riches come.
And ever since, our comrades celebrate on May Day
in Portella delle Ginestre.

Giuliano knew that it was the feast of the poor,
a nice sunny day after so much rain,
some were dancing, some were singing, some tuned up their songs
and set up tables with hazelnuts and torrone.
All the flag poles were hoes, their raised arms and hands
were sowed land, warm bread and wheat.

They hoped for a future in which the whole world is a family
and they saw it draw near, they already were counting the steps.
That day’s speaker was Jacopo Schirò,
he barely had the time to say “Viva May Day” when his speech was cut off.
From mount Pizzuta, the closest peak,
Giuliano and his band wreaked havoc.

They sprayed bullets
and gunned down everyone
like a scythe that reaps
with fire in its teeth.
Some cry in fear,
some run and shout for help,
some raise their arms
begging for mercy.

And the mothers breathing heavily,
breathing, cried, now out of breath:
“My son! Your body and arms
are a riddle of bullets!”

After a quarter of an hour of that hell, life, death and passion,
the bandits ran out of ammunition.
They stood there in the blood and the grass of the plain
twenty dead, poor people, who only wanted a humane world.
And their mothers wept for them in the grass, their fathers knelt
and washed the blood away from their faces with tears.

Epifania Barbato, lying next to her dead son, says:
“Even here they wage war on the poor…”
Margherita La Glisceri had been there with her five children
and was shot to death with her sixth in her womb.
Since that day, whoever goes to Portella, even many years later,
Sees the dead in flesh and blood, with faces and limbs
as though they still lived, and can hear a voice between the sky and earth
which cries out: “Oh, Justice, when will you come?
Oh, Justice, when will you come?”