Dalla nube alla resistenza [From the Clouds to the Resistance] (1979)

Uploaded by bidsprinkhaanII on 21.07.2012

From the Clouds to the Resistance
There is a law, Ixion, which we must obey.
Up here the law does not arrive, Nephele.
Here the law
is the snow-field, the storm, the darkness.
And when the clear day comes and you draw, light, near to the rock...
it is too beautiful still to think about it.
There is a law, Ixion,
which there wasn't before. The clouds,
a stronger hand gathers them.
Here this hand does not arrive.
You yourself, now that it is fine, laugh.
And when the sky grows dim and the wind howls,
what matters the hand which scatters us like droplets?
It happened already in the times when there was no master.
Nothing has changed
on the mounts. We are used to all this.
Many things have changed on the mounts. Pelion knows it,
Ossa and Olympus know it. Still wilder mounts know it.
Neither the sun nor the water, Ixion. Man's fate
has changed. There are monsters.
A limit is imposed upon you men.
The water, the wind, the rock and the cloud
are no longer your thing, you can no longer press them close to you, engendering and living.
Other hands henceforth hold the world.
There is a law, Ixion.
My fate, I have it in my fist Nephele.
What has changed? These new masters
can perhaps hinder me
from casting a rock in play, or from going down to the plain and breaking
an enemy's spine?
Will they be more terrible
than fatigue and death?
It is not that, Ixion. All that
you can do, and other things more. But you can no longer
mingle with us others, the nymphs of the springs and of the mounts,
with the daughters of the wind, with the goddesses of the earth.
Destiny has changed.
- You can no longer... - What does it mean, Nephele?
It means
that, wanting that, you will on the contrary do terrible things.
As he who, to caress a companion, would strangle him
or be strangled by him.
You won't come any more on the mountain? You are afraid of me?
I'll come on the mountain and everywhere.
You cannot do anything to me, Ixion. You cannot do anything
against the water and against the wind. But you must bow your head.
Only thus will you save your fate.
I am afraid.
I have seen the peaks of the mounts. But not for me,
lxion. I cannot suffer. I am afraid for you
who are only men. These mounts,
where you once wandered as masters
these creatures, ours and yours, engendered in freedom,
now tremble at a nod.
We are all enslaved
by a stronger hand. The sons of the water and the wind, the Centaurs,
are hiding at the bottom of the ravines. They know
they are monsters.
Who says so?
Don't defy the hand, Ixion.
It is fate. I have seen some more audacious then them and you
hurled from the rock and not die.
Death, which was your courage,
can be taken from you, like some good.
What does it matter? We'll live longer.
You play and do not know the immortals.
I want to know them, Nephele.
Ixion, you believe
that they are presences like us,
like Night, Earth and old Pan. You are young, Ixion,
but you were born under the old destiny. For you
no monsters exist but only companions.
For you death
is something that happens, like day and night.
You are one of us, Ixion. You are all in the gesture you make.
But for them, the immortals,
your gestures have a sense that lingers.
They feel everything from afar
with their eyes, their nostrils, their lips.
They are immortals and they do not know how to live alone.
What you achieve or do not achieve,
what you say, what you seek,
everything gladdens or displeases them.
And if you disgust them - if by mistake you disturb them in their Olympus -
they pounce on you
and give you death - that death which they know,
which is a bitter savour which lasts and is felt.
Then one can still die.
No, Ixion. They will make of you like a shadow,
but a shadow that wants to live again and does not ever die.
Have you seen them, these gods?
I too have seen them, Nephele. They are not terrible.
I knew it. Your fate is marked.
Whom have you seen?
It was a young man, who was walking barefoot through the forest. He passed by me
and did not say a word to me. Then in front of a rock he vanished.
I sought him for a long time, to ask him
who he was. He seemed
made of the same flesh as you.
Then in a dream
I saw him again, with the goddesses.
And they told me the things that you are telling, but without fear,
without trembling like you. We talked together
of destiny and death.
We talked of Olympus, we laughed
at the ridiculous monsters.
O Ixion, Ixion, your fate is marked. Now you know
what has changed above the mounts.
And you too
have changed. And you believe yourself to be something more than a man.
I tell you, Nephele, that you are like them.
Why, at least in a dream, should not they please me?
Fool, you cannot stop at dreams.
You will climb up as far as them. You will do something terrible.
Then that death will come.
Tell me the names of all the goddesses.
You see that dreaming is not enough
for you anymore? And that you believe in your dream as if it were real?
I implore you, Ixion, don't climb to the top.
Think of the monsters and of the punishments.
Nothing else can come from them.
I had another dream last night. You were there too.
We were fighting the Centaurs. I had a son who was the son of a goddess,
I don't know which. And he seemed to me like that young man who walked through the forest.
He was stronger even than me, Nephele. The Centaurs fled,
and the mountain was ours.
You were laughing, Nephele.
You see that even in a dream
my fate is acceptable.
Your fate is marked.
One does not life one's eyes to a goddess with impunity.
Not even to the one of the oak, the lady of the peaks?
The one or the other, Ixion, it does not matter.
But don't be afraid. I'll be with you until the end.
I have seen your father, Hippolochus.
He won't hear of coming back. He wanders, ugly and stubborn, through the countryside,
does not care about inclement weather nor washes himself. He is old and beggarly,
About him what do the boors say?
The Aleian plain is desolate, uncle.
There is nothing but reeds and swamps. On the Xanthus,
where I asked about him, they had not seen him for days.
He does not remember either us or the houses.
When he meets somebody, he talks to him of the Solymi,
and of Glaucus, Sisyphus, the Chimera.
Seeing me he said: "Boy, if I were your age,
I would already have thrown myself into the sea."
But he does not threaten a living soul.
"Boy," he said to me,
"you are just and pious. We are just and pious men.
If you want to live just and pious, stop living."
Truly he grumbles and complains in this manner?
He says threatening and terrible things. He calls the gods
to measure themselves against him.
Day and night, he walks.
But he insults and pities only the dead -
and the gods.
Glaucus and Sisyphus, you said?
He says they were punished treachery.
Why -
wait until they got old to overtake them
sad and decaying?
he says, "was just and pious as long as the blood coursed in his muscles.
And now that he is old and that he is alone,
the gods abandon him?"
Strange thing, to be astonished about it.
And to accuse the gods of what falls to all living men.
But he, what has he in common
with those dead he who was always just?
I too asked myself, seeing that bewildered eye, if I was speaking
with the man who once was Bellerophon.
To your father something has happened.
He is not only old. He is not only sad and alone. Your father
is atoning for the Chimera.
Your father accuses
the injustice of the gods who wanted him to kill the Chimera.
"From that day," he repeats,
"when I reddened myself in the monster's blood,
I have no longer had a true life. I have sought enemies,
tamed the Amazons, massacred the Solymi,
I have ruled over the Lycians and planted a garden -
but what is all this? Where is there another Chimera?
Where is the strength of the arms that killed her?
Sisyphus too
and Glaucus my father were young and just -
then both of them getting old,
the gods betrayed them, let them become like beasts and die.
He who once faced the Chimera, how can he resign himself
to die?
This, says your father, who one day was Bellerophon.
From Sisyphus, who enchained the child Thanatos,
to Glaucus who fed horses with living men,
our breed has violated many boundaries.
But these are men of the past
and from a monstrous age. The chimera
was the last monster they saw.
Our earth now is just and pious.
Do you believe it, Hippolochus? Do you believe that it was enough to have killed her?
Our father - I can call him that -
should know. And yet he is as sad as a god -
as a forsaken and white-haired god,
and he crosses countryside and swamps talking to these dead.
He lacks the arm that killed her. He lacks the pride
of Glaucus and Sisyphus,
precisely now that he, like his fathers, has attained
the limit, the end. Their audaciousness torments him.
He knows that nevermore
will another Chimera wait for him among the rocks.
And he calls the gods in defiance.
I know his son, Sarpedon,
but I do not understand these things.
Upon the earth henceforth made pious,
one should get old in peace.
In a young man, almost a boy, like you, Sarpedon,
I understand the tumult of the blood.
But only in a young man. But for honorable causes.
And not to set oneself against the gods.
But he, he who knows what is a young man and an old man.
He has seen other days.
He has seen the gods, as we see each other.
He tells of terrible things.
And who wouldn't want to listen to him? Bellerophon has seen
things which don't happen often.
I know, Sarpedon, I know,
but that world is past.
When I was a child, he told me of those too.
Only that then, he was not talking with the dead. At that time
they were fables.
Today, on the contrary, the destinies
he touches become his own.
They are facts that you know. But you don't know the coldness,
the bewildered look, as from him who is nothing anymore
and knows everything.
They are stories of Lydia and Phrygia,
old stories, without justice or piety.
Do you know
the one of the Silenus that a god provoked and defeated on mount Celaenae,
and then killed
by slaying him like the butcher slaughtering a young goat.
From the cave
a torrent now wells up, as if it were his blood.
The story of the mother petrified,
turned into a weeping rock, because it pleased a goddess
to kill her sons, one by one, with arrows.
And the story of Arachne, who by Athena's hatred
was struck with horror and became a spider.
These are things that happened. The gods did them.
And it is well. What does it matter?
It is no use thinking about it. Of those destinies
nothing remains.
There remains the torrent, the rock,
the horror. There remain the dreams.
Bellerophon cannot take a step without striking
a corpse, a hatred, a pool of blood, from the times when
all happened and it was not dreams.
His arm at that time weighed in the world and killed.
He too was cruel, then.
He was just and pious. He killed Chimeras.
And now that he is old and that he is tired,
the gods abandon him.
For that he wanders through the fields?
He is the son of Glaucus and of Sisyphus. He fears
the caprice and the ferocity of the gods.
He feels himself becoming like a beast and does not want to die.
"Boy," he says to me,
"here is the mockery and the treachery: first they take away from you all strength
and then they are indignant if you are less than a man.
If you want to live, stop living."
And why doesn't he kill himself, he who knows these things?
Nobody kills himself. Death
is destiny. One can only wish it, Hippolochus.
Old Tiresias, must I believe
what they say, that the gods blinded you
out of envy?
If it is true that everything comes to us from the gods,
you must believe it.
You, what do you say?
That there is to much talk about the gods.
Being blind
is a misfortune no different from being alive.
I have always seen mishaps
fall in their own time where they had to fall.
but then, the gods, what do they do?
The world is older than them.
it was already filling space, and it bled, it enjoyed,
it was the only god - when time was still not born.
Things themselves reigned them.
Things happened -
now through the gods
everything is made into words, illusion, threats.
But the gods can give annoyance,
bring them together or pull them apart. Not touch them,
not change them. They came too late.
Precisely you, a priest, say this?
If I did not know at least this, I would not be a priest.
Take a boy who bathes in the Asopus.
It is a summer morning.
The boy comes out of the water, goes back in happily,
dives and dives again, he is taken ill and drowns.
What do the gods have to do with this?
Should he attribute his end to the gods or else the enjoyed pleasure?
Neither the one nor the other. Something happened -
which is neither good nor evil, something which has no name -
then the gods will give it a name.
And to give a name, to explain things,
seems little to you, Tiresias?
You are young, Oedipus
and like the gods who are young
you yourself clear up things
and call them.
You still don't know that
beneath the earth there is stone,
and that the bluest sky is the emptiest.
For him who like me does not see,
all things are a blow, nothing else.
But yet you have lived practicing the gods.
Seasons, pleasures, human miseries
have occupied you a long time. They tell more than one fable about you,
as about a god.
And one so strange, so unusual,
that yet it must have a meaning -
maybe the one of the clouds in the sky.
I have lived long. I have lived so much
that every story I listen to
seems to be my own.
Which meaning do you say about the clouds in the sky?
A presence within the void...
But what is this fable
which you think has a meaning?
Have you always been what you are, old Tiresias?
Ah, I catch you. The story of the snakes.
When I was a woman for seven years.
Well, what do you find in this story?
To you it happened and you know it.
But without a god these things do not happen.
You believe it?
Everything can happen on earth.
There is nothing unusual.
At that timeI felt disgust about the things of sex -
it seemed to me
that the spirit, the sanctity, my character, would be
debased by it.
When I saw the two snakes enjoy and bite each other on the moss,
I could not hold back my vexation:
I touched them with my stick.
Shortly afterwards I was a woman -
and for years my pride was constrained to submit.
The things of the world are stone, Oedipus.
But is the sex of woman truly so base?
Not at all.
There are no base things, except to the gods.
There are annoyances, disgusts and illusions,
which, on touching the stone, are dispelled.
Here the stone was the strength of sex,
its ubiquity and omnipresence under all forms and changes.
From man to woman and vice versa
(seven years later I saw the two snakes again)
what I did not want to consent to with my spirit
was done to me through violence or through lust,
and I, disdainful man or debased woman,
I broke loose like a woman
and was abject like a man,
and I knew everything of sex:
I reached the point
where as a man I sought men and as a woman women.
You see therefore that a god has taught you something.
There is no god above sex.
It is the stone, I tell you.
Many gods are wild beasts,
but the snake is the oldest
of all the gods. When he conceals himself
in the ground, there you have the image
of sex. There is in it life and death.
What god
can incarnate and include so much?
But you yourself. You said so.
Tiresias is old and is not a god.
When he was young, he was ignorant.
Sex -
is ambiguous and always equivocal. It is a half
which appears a whole.
Man succeeds in incarnating it, in living inside it
like the good swimmer in the water
but meanwhile he has got old, he has touched
the stone. At the end one idea, one illusion
is left to him: that the other sex comes out of it satiated.
Well, don't believe it:
I know that for all it is a wasted fatigue.
To refute what you say is not easy.
It is not for nothing that your story
begins with the snakes.
But it begins
also with the disgust, with the annoyance of sex.
And what would you say to a fit man
who swore to you that he ignored disgust?
That he is not a fit man - he is still a child.
I too, Tiresias, have had
encounters on the road to Thebes.
And in one of these
we talked of man - from childhood to death -
we too have touched the stone.
From that day I was husband and I was father,
and King of Thebes.
There is nothing ambiguous or wasted,
for me, in my days.
You are not alone, Oedipus, in believing this.
But the stone is not touched with words.
May the gods protect you.
I too speak to you and am old. Only the blind man knows
It seems to me
that I live outside time, that I have always lived,
and I no longer believe in the days. In me too there is
something that enjoys and that bleeds.
You said that this something
was a god.
Why, good Tiresias, don't you try praying to it?
We all pray to some god,
but what happens has no name.
They boy drowned on a summer morning,
what does he know of the gods?
What does it help him to pray?
There is a big snake in every day of life,
and it conceals itself and watches us.
Have you ever asked yourself, Oedipus,
why the unhappy, as they get old
go blind?
I pray the gods that it does not happen to me.
It is not the first time that a beast has been killed.
But it is the first time that we have killed a man.
Who was thinking of his name and the stories of another time?
He has the heart of a beast besides the hair.
For a long time in these brushwoods
a similar or bigger wolf has not been seen.
Me, I think of his name.
I was still a boy and they were already talking about him. They told
unbelievable things of when he was a man -
that he tried to slaughter the Lord of the mounts.
Now it is done. We must skin him
and go back to the plain. Think of the feast which awaits us.
I ask myself
if, once his skin taken, we should bury him.
He was a man once.
He was already a wolf when the mountains were still desert.
He had got older than the hoary and mouldy trunks.
Who remembers that he had a name and was somebody?
If we want to be frank,
he should have been dead for a long time.
But his body left unburied...
He was Lycaon, a hunter like us.
To any one of us can befall
death on the mounts, and nobody would find us any more
if not the rain or the vulture.
If he was truly a hunter, he died badly.
He defended himself as an old man, with his eyes.
But you deep down, you don't believe
that he was your own kind. You don't believe in his name.
If you believed it you would not want to insult
his corpse,
because you'd know that he too
despised the dead, he too lived wild and inhuman -
not for anything else the Lord of the mounts turned him into a wild beast.
They tell about him that he cooked his own kind.
I know men
who have done much less and are wolves -
they are lacking only the howling and skulking in the woods.
Are you so sure of yourself that you don't sometimes feel Lycaon like him?
All of us others have days
when, if a god touched us,
we'd howl and jump at the throat
of anyone who resists us.
What is it that saves us if not that by waking up
we find again these hands and this mouth and this voice?
But he had no escape -
he left for ever the human eyes and the houses.
Now at least that he is dead,
he should have peace.
I do not believe that he needed peace.
Who more in peace than him, when he could
squat upon the rocks and howl at the moon?
I've lived enough in the woods
to know that the trunks and the wild beasts
do not feat anything sacred and do not look at the sky
but to rustle or to yawn.
There is even something
that makes them equal to the lords of the sky:
whatever they do, they have no remorse.
To hear you,
it seems that the wolf's is a high destiny.
I do not know if high or low, but
did you ever hear of a beast or of a plant
that turned itself into a human being?
On the contrary all these places are full
of men and women touched by the god -
this one becomes bush, this one bird, this one wolf.
And however impious he was, whatever crime he had committed,
he gained not having red hands any longer,
he escaped remorse and hope,
he did not remember he was a man.
Do the gods feel otherwise?
A punishment is a punishment and he who inflicts is
has compassion at least in this that he removes from the impious the certainty
and of remorse makes destiny.
Even if the beast does not remember
the past and lives only for its prey and death,
there remains its name, there remains what it was.
There is old Callisto buried on the hill.
Who knows still her crime?
The lords of the sky punished her much.
Of a woman - she was beautiful, they say -
to make a bear who growls and sheds tears,
who in the night out of fear
wants to go back to the houses. Here is a wild beast
who had no peace. The son came and killed her with his lance
and the gods did not move.
There are some too who says that, repentant,
they turned her into a cluster of stars.
But the body remains and that is buried.
What do you mean? I know the stories.
And if Callisto did not know how to resign herself, it is not
the fault of the gods.
It is like someone who goes melancholically to a banquet
or gets drunk at a funeral.
If I were a wolf,
I would be a wolf even in my sleep.
You don't know the way of blood.
The gods add nothing to you nor take anything away. Solely,
with a light touch, they nail you
where you reached.
What at first was wish, was choice
reveals itself to you as destiny.
That is what it means: to become a wolf.
But you remain the one who ran from the houses
you remain the old Lycaon.
Then you mean that Lycaon suffered
like a man whom one would chase with dogs?
He was old, finished:
you yourself agree that he did not know how to defend himself.
While he was dying without voice on the stones, I thought of these old beggars
who sometimes stop in front of the court-yards,
and the dogs strangle themselves with their chains to bite them.
That too occurs, in the houses down there.
Let us even say that he lived like a wolf. But, dying and seeing us,
He understood he was a man. He told us with his eyes.
Friend, and you think it matters to him
to rot underground like a man,
he when the last thing he saw
were hunting men?
There is a peace beyond death. A common fate.
It matters to the living, it matters
to the wolf that is in us all.
It has fallen to us to kill him.
Let us at least follow the custom and leave the insult
to the gods.
We shall go back to the houses with clean hands.
Here is the field, stranger. From here
it is not possible for you to make off.
And as you have eaten and drunk with us,
our earth will drink your blood.
Next year the Meander will see
a wheat tighter and thicker than this one.
You have killed many in the past on this field?
But nobody who had your strength or was good enough alone.
Who taught you this custom?
It has always been done. If you don't nourish the earth,
how can you ask it to nourish you?
Already this year your wheat seems to me in full vigour.
Whom did you slaughter?
No stranger came to us. We killed an old servant
and a goat. It was flabby blood
which the earth barely felt. See the spike, how empty it is.
The body which we lacerate
must first sweat, foam in the sun.
For that we'll make you reap,
carry the sheaves, stream with fatigue,
and only at the end,
when your blood is boiling brisk and pure,
will it be the moment to slit your throat.
Your gods, what do they say?
There is no god above the field. There is only the earth,
the Mother, the Cave which is always waiting.
and shakes only under the flow of blood.
Tonight, stranger, you will be yourself
in the cave.
You other Phrygians,
you don't go down into the cave?
We come out of it when we're born
and there is no hurry to go back.
I understand. And thus the excrement of blood
is necessary to your gods.
No gods, but the earth, stranger.
You, you don't live on the earth?
Our gods are not on earth, but they rule
the sea and the earth, the forest and the cloud,
as the shepherd keeps his flock and the master commands his servants.
They keep themselves separate, on the mount,
like the thoughts inside the eyes of one who is speaking
or like the clouds in the sky.
They do not need blood.
I don't understand you, foreign guest.
The cloud the rock the cave have for us the same name and cannot be separated.
The blood the mother has given us we give back to her
in sweat in excrement in death.
It is really true that you come from far away.
Those gods of yours are nothing.
They are a breed of immortals.
They have conquered the forest, the earth and its monsters. They have driven into the cave
all those like you
who shed blood to nourish the earth.
Oh you see, your gods knows what they are doing. They too
have had to satiate the earth.
And besides you are too robust
to have been born of an earth not satiated.
But don't you fear death on the sheaves?
Maybe you hope
to run off through the furrows like a quail or a squirrel?
If I have understood well it is not death
but a return to the Mother and like a hospitable gift.
All these boors who tire themselves out on the field
will hail with prayers and with songs
him who will give his blood for them. It is a great honour.
Guest, thank you. I assure you that the servant
we slaughtered last year
did not say that. He was old and finished
and still we had to tie him up with bark bands
and for a long time he struggled under the sickles,
so much that before he fell he had already lost all his blood.
This time, Lityerses, it will go better. And tell me,
the unfortunate man killed, what do you do with him?
He is lacerated while still half alive,
and we scatter the pieces over the fields
to touch the Mother.
We keep the bleeding head
wrapping it in spikes and flowers
and among songs and cheerfulness
we throw it into the Meander. Because the Mother
is not only earth but, as I have told you,
also cloud and water.
You know many things, you Lityerses,
not for nothing are you the lord
of the fields at Celaenae.
And in Pessinus, tell me, do they kill many?
Everywhere, stranger, they kill under the sun.
The earth is alive, and must also be nourished.
But why
must the one you kill be a stranger?
The earth, the cave that made you
should still prefer
to take back the juices that most resemble her.
You too, when you eat, don't you prefer
the bread and the wine from your field?
I like you, stranger,
you take to heart our good as if you were
our son.
But reflect a moment: why
do we endure the fatigue and the effort of this work?
To live, no? And so it is just
that we stay alive to enjoy the harvest
and that the others die. You are not a peasant.
But wouldn't it be more just to find the way
to put an end to the killings and that all,
strangers and countrymen, eat the wheat?
To kill for one last time
him who alone will make the earth fruitful for ever
and the clouds and the strength of the sun on this plain?
You are not a peasant, I see it.
You don't even know that the earth begins again
at every solstice
and that the course of the year wears everything out.
But there will be on this plain
someone who has been nourished, going back to his fathers,
by all the juices of the seasons, who is so rich
and so strong and with so generous a blood
that he should suffice once for all
to renew the earth from the past seasons?
You make me laugh, stranger.
It seems almost that you are talking about me. I'm the only one
in Celaenae
who, through my fathers, has always lived here.
I am the lord, and you know it.
I am talking in fact about you. We shall reap, Lityerses.
I came from Greece for this deed of blood.
And tonight you will go back to the cave.
You want to kill me, on my own field?
I want to fight with you
to the death.
Do you know at least how to handle the sickle, stranger?
Don't worry, Lityerses.
Our bonfire, nobody sees it.
We make it, it does not matter. Everywhere this night there are bonfires.
O Zeus,
receive this offering of milk and sweet honey;
we are poor shepherds and of the flock not ours
we cannot dispose.
May this fire which burns drive away the misfortunes
and as it is covering itself with spirals of smoke, let it cover us with clouds.
Wet and sprinkle, boy.
It is enough if they kill a calf in the big farms.
If it rains, it rains everywhere.
You must sprinkle towards the sea. The rains come from the sea.
Father, why is it not raining now?
They have lit the bonfires.
It is the feast, boy. If it were raining,
it would put them out. To whom is it convenient?
It will rain tomorrow.
And on the bonfires while they were still burning,
it has never rained?
You were still not born, and I neither,
and they were already lighting the bonfires. Always this night.
They say that one time it did rain, on the bonfire.
But that was when man lived more justly than now,
and even the king's sons were shepherds.
All this earth was like a threshing floor, then,
clean and smoothed and it obeyed to King Athamas.
One worked and lived and there was no need to hide the young goats from the master.
They say that terrible dog-days come
and thus the meadows and the wells dried up and people died.
The bonfires were of no use at all. Then Athamas asked for advice.
But he was old and had at home since a short time
a young wife, who commanded,
and she began to fill his head
that it was not the moment to show himself flabby, to lose his credit.
They had prayed and sprinkled? Yes.
They had killed the calf and the bull, many bulls? Yes.
What had resulted? Nothing.
Then, let them offer the sons.
But not her sons of her own, who did not have any: figure it out;
the two already grown sons of the first wife
two boys who worked out in the fields all day.
And Athamas, the dolt, decides: he had them called.
They understand,
it's known, king's sons are not silly,
and so to their heels.
And with them disappeared the first clouds that, hardly having heard such a thing,
a god had sent over the countryside.
And immediately that witch saying:
"You see? The idea was just, the clouds were already there;
here we have to slaughter someone."
And so much does she that people decide
to seize Athamas and burn him.
They prepare the fire, light it, conduct Athamas
bound and adorned with flowers like an ox,
and when they are about to throw him in the bonfire,
the weather breaks, there is thunder, lightning,
and down comes a god's water. The countryside is reborn.
The water puts out the bonfire and Athamas, good man, pardons everyone
- even his wife.
Beware, boy, of women.
It's easier to recognize the female snake from the snake.
And the king's sons?
Nothing was known of them again.
But two boys like those will have found some good to do.
And if at that time they were just, why
did they want to burn two boys?
Silly, you don't know what dog-days are.
I have seen some, and your grandfather saw some.
Winter is nothing. In winter one suffers,
but one knows that it's doing the crops good.
Not the dog-days. The dog-days burn.
Everything dies,
and hunger and thirst change a man.
Take one who hasn't eaten: he is quarrelsome.
And you think these people who all agreed with each other
and everyone had his land,
used to doing good and being well.
The wells dry up, the wheat burns,
they are hungry and thirsty.
But they become fierce beasts.
They were bad people.
Not worse than we are.
Our dog-days are our masters.
And there is no rain that can set us free.
I do not like these fires any more.
Why do the gods need them?
Is it true that at one time they always burned somebody on them?
They moved slowly. They burned on them cripples,
idlers and insane people. They burned on them
useless people. People who stole on the fields.
Anyway the gods are contented wit hit.
Good or bad, it rained.
I do not understand
what tasthe the gods found for that. If it rained just the same.
Also Athamas. They have put out the pyre.
You see, the gods
are the masters. They are like the masters.
You want them to see one of their own burning?
Amongst themselves they help each other.
Us on the contrary nobody helps.
Whether it is raining or fine, what does it matter to the gods?
Now we're lighting the fires and they say it brings rain.
What does it matter to our masters?
Have you ever seen them come to the fields?
- Me, no. -
- And so. -
If once a bonfire was enough to make it rain,
burning some vagabond on it to save a crop,
how many masters' houses would have to be set on fire,
how many killed in the streets and on the squares
before the worlds turns just again
and we can tell our word?
They are unjust, the gods.
If it were not thus, they would not be gods.
One who does not work,
how do you want him to spend his time?
When there were no masters and people lived with justice,
one had to
kill someone from time to time to let them enjoy themselves.
They are made thus.
But in our time, they don't need that any more.
There are so many of us in a bad way that it is enough for them
to watch us.
Vagabonds them too.
Vagabonds. You said justly.
What did they say while burning on the bonfire the crippled boys?
Did they shout a lot?
It is not so much the shouting.
It is who shouts, that counts.
A cripple or a wicked one
don't do any good. But it is a little worse
when a man who has children sees the idlers fatten.
That is unjust.
I do not want to, you understand, I do not want to.
They do well, the masters, to eat our marrow,
if we have been so unjust among ourselves.
They do well, the gods, to watch us suffer.
I do not know whether I come from the hill or from the valley,
from the woods or from a house with balconies.
The girl who left me on the steps of the cathedral of Alba,
maybe didn't come from the country either,
maybe was the daughter of the owners of a big house,
or else I was carried there in a vintage-basket
by two poor women from Monticello,
from Neive, or, why not, from Cravanzana.
If I grew up in this village,
I must say thank you to Virgilia, to Padrino
even if they took me and reared me
only because the hospital in Alessandria
gave them a monthly income.
On these hills there were damned ones
who, to see a piece of silver,
loaded themselves with a bastard from the hospital, in addition to the children they had already.
There was one who took a small girl
to have afterwards a little servant and order her about better;
Virgilia wanted me
because she already had two daughters.
I grew up with the girls, we used to steal each other's polenta and sleep on the same straw mattress.
Angiolina, the bigger one, was a year older than me;
and only when I was ten, the winter when Virgilia died, did I know by chance
that I was not her brother.
Maybe now my father will spring up too.
Your father is you.
In America the beautiful thing is that they are all
That too, is a thing to be set right.
Why should there be
those who have no name or house? Aren't we all human beings?
Leave things as they are.
I made it, even without a name.
You made it,
and no one dare speak to you about it any more;
but those who didn't make it?
You don't know how many wretches there still are on these hills.
When I went around with the musicians, all over
in front of the kitchens were to be found idiots, half-wits, simpletons.
Children of alcoholics and ignorant servant-girls,
who reduce them to live on cabbage-stalks and crusts.
There were even those who laughed at them.
You made it, because for good or bad,
you found a house; you athe little at Padrino's,
but you ate.
You had a passion for it. Why did you give up playing?
Because your father died?
There was the war.
Maybe the girls' legs still itched to dance, but
who got them to dance any more?
People amused themselves diversely in the war years.
Then there is the bore that music
is a bad masters. By playing you don't bring much home,
and then all this waste and never well knowing who pays,
in the end it disgusts you.
It becomes a vice, you have to give it up.
My father used to say that the vice of women is better...
Of the two, I preferred music.
To form a group the nights when we were coming home late,
and play, play, I, the cornet and the mandoline,
going along the main road,
in the dark, far from the houses, far from the women
and from the dogs, who reply as if mad, to play like that.
Serenades, I have never played any.
I have never known a girl who understood what playing is.
I had a musician, Arboreto, who played the bombardon.
He played so many serenades that we used to say of him: those two,
they don't speak to each other, they play to each other.
Who knows how many boys down here would like to take the road to Canelli...
But they don't take it.
You, on the contrary, you took it. Why?
Does one know these things?
Because at La Mora they called me "eel"?
Because one morning on the bridge at Canelli
I saw a car run into that ox?
It's because there is a destiny. You
in Genoa, in America, who knows,
you had to do something, to understand something
which was going to befall you.
One day or the other I'll tell you things about here
Something befalls everyone. You see boys, people
who are nothing, who do no harm,
but the day comes when
they too... Listen to them. To get them to come and pray to the Madonna,
the parson has to let them relieve themselves.
And to be able to relieve themselves, they have
to light candles to the Madonna. Which
of the two cheats the other?
They cheat each other by turns.
No, no, the parson is the winner.
Who is it who pays for
the illumination, the fireworks, the parish expenses and the music?
The damned ones, they break their spine for four acres of land, and then
let it be eaten off them.
Don't you say that the biggest expense
falls to the ambitious families?
And where do the ambitious families get the money?
They make their servant, their maid, their peasant work.
And the land, where did they take it from?
Why should there be one who has much and one nothing?
What are you? A Communist?
We are too ignorant in this country.
A Communist is not whoever wants to be one.
There should be Communists who aren't ignorant,
who don't disgrace the name.
I thought coming back to Italy I'd find
something done. You had the knife by the handle.
I had only a plane and a chisel.
I've seen it everywhere. There are countries where the flies
are better off than the Christians. But that's not enough
to revolt. People need a push.
At that time you had the push and the strength...
Were you on the hills, too?
No, if I'd gone, they'd have burnt my house.
I was a boy like you
and I lived here with Padrino,
we had a goat. I took it to graze,
In winter when the hunters didn't pass by any more,
we couldn't even go on to the shore,
so much water and ice there was,
and from Gaminella there came down the wolves,
who in the woods
didn't find any more to eat; and in the morning
we saw their footprints in the snow.
I slept in the back room with the girls
and we used to hear at night
the wolf lamenting because he was cold on the shore.
On the shore last year there was a dead man.
A German. Buried by the partisans.
So close to the road?
The water carried him down and Dad
found him under the mud and the stones.
It's Dad.
I was passing by chance and wanted to see the countryside again.
I don't recognise it, it has been worked so much.
Have you worked in the house too?
The women stay in the house. They have to think about that
Did you go and cut the grass?
For many reasons I cannot sell the vineyard -
because it is the last land to bear my name,
because otherwise
I would end up in someone else's house
because it suits the farmers so,
because anyway I am alone.
You don't know what it is to live
without a piece of land in these villages,
You, where do you have your dead ones?
I do not know.
I understand. That's life.
I, alas, have someone recently dead in the cemetery.
For twelve years, and it seems like yesterday to me.
Not someone dead as it human to have,
someone dead you get resigned to, of whom you can think with trust.
I have made many stupid mistakes,
everyone does in life. The true bruises of old age
are remorses. But one thing I can't forgive myself.
That boy...
I planted these trees. I wanted that here
on the summit of the hill the land should be his...
In every countryside there should be a piece of land like this,
left uncultivated... But the vineyard must be worked.
I am old.
- Boors. -
The bonfires do good for sure.
They awaken the earth.
But Nuto, not even Cinto believes that.
And yet, I don't know what it is, whether it's the heat or the blaze,
or that the dampness awakens, the fact is
that all the fields where at the edge they light a bonfire
give juicier and livelier crops.
So you believe in the moon too?
The moon you have forcibly to believe in.
Try to cut down a pine tree by full moon,
the worms will eat it up on you. A vat,
you have to wash it when the moon is young.
Even grafting,
unless done in the first days of the moon,
doesn't take.
It is useless for you to find so much to say about the government
and the speeches of the priests,
if you believe in these superstitions like the old folk of your grandmother.
Superstition is only that one which does harm,
and if someone were to use the moon and the bonfires
to rob the peasants and keep them in the dark,
then he would be ignoramus
and should be shot on the square.
But before you can speak, you have to become a countryman again.
A man like Valino
may know nothing else, but the land, he knows it.
I have learnt the end of Padrino and of his folk.
Cola's daughter-in-law told me about it.
At Cossano where they ended up with the four pennies
from the croft, Padrino
died old, very old, on a road,
where his daughters' husbands had thrown him.
The younger one had married while just a girl; the other,
Angiolina, a year afterwards -
with two brothers who lived at the Madonna of the Oak,
in a farm behind the woods.
The two men worked hard,
they wore out the oxen and the women;
the younger one died in a filed, killed by lightning;
the other, Angiolina,
made seven children and then took to bed with a tumour in her ribs,
she suffered and screamed for three months -
the doctor goes up there once a year - she died without even seeing the priest.
His daughters finished, the old man
had no one left in the house to give him anything to eat
and he began to go around the countryside and the fairs.
He, too, died in the end
on the threshing-floor of a farm, where he had come in to beg.
So it is useless for me to go to Cassano to seek
my foster-sisters. In my mind remains
Angiolina stretched out with bared teeth,
like her mother that winter she died.
I would be disposed to go to the shores myself
to seek other dead men, all the dead,
to dig up with the hoe
so many poor boys, if that would be enough
to shut up in prison some Communist scum.
It's difficult to accuse the Communists.
Here the bands were autonomous.
That they were autonomous doesn't mean a thing.
All the partisans were assassins.
For me the fault
was not of this or that individual.
It as all a situation of guerrilla,
illegality, blood.
Somebody, ploughing an uncultivated field,
had found two other dead men on the slopes of Gaminella,
with their heads crushed and no shoes. They had to be republicans,
because the partisans died in the valley,
shot on the squares and hanged from the balconies or they were sent to Germany.
Probably these two were really spies...
But who formed the first bands?
Who wanted civil war?
Who provoked the Germans and the others?
The Communists. Always them.
They are all the responsible ones.
They are the assassins.
It's an honour which we Italians
grant them willingly.
I do not agree.
That year
I was still in America. And in America I was interned.
In America, which is in America,
the papers published a proclamation by the King and Badoglio
which ordered all Italians
to take to the woods, to start guerrilla fighting,
to attack the Germans and the fascists from the back.
They are all bastards.
It's our money they want.
The land and the money, like in Russia.
And whoever protests, is done away with.
At the assembly in the directory they all agreed.
They decided
to have a fine solemn burial service
for the two victims.
In short the parson attracts water to his mill
and has still not digested the inauguration
of the memorial stone to the partisans hanged in front of the Ca'Nere,
which was done without him.
He already tried a move like this with the gypsies.
During the days of '45 a band of boys
had captured two gypsies
who for months had been coming and going,
double-crossing, informing on the partisan detachments.
You know how it is, in the bands there were all sorts.
Ignorant people as well. Enough,
instead of taking them to headquarters,
they put them down a well and make them tell
how many times they'd gone to the militia barracks.
Then one of them, who had a fine voice,
they tell to sing to save himself.
He sings,
sitting on the well, bound, he sings like mad.
While he's singing, a blow of the hoe for each, they lay them out...
We dug them up
and immediately the priest made the sermon in the church.
In your place I'd go and ask him
for a mass for the dead who were hanged.
If he refuses, you besmirch him in front of the village.
He is capable of accepting and of having all the same
his meeting.
The times have been diabolical. Too much blood
has been shed and too many young people still listen to
the word of hatred.
The fatherland, the family, the religion
are still threatened.
- Red, -
the fine colour of the martyrs, had become the emblem
of Antichrist
and in his name have been and are being committed
so many crimes.
We, too, must repent,
purify ourselves, make reparation - give Christian burial
to these two unknown young men barbarously slaughtered,
done away with, God knows, without the comfort of the sacraments -
and make reparation, pray for them, raise a barrier of hearts.
To show it to those without fatherland, to the violent ones, the Godless.
Do not believe that the adversary is defeated...
That parson was on his toes.
To hear the speeches that the women and the shop -keepers were making now in the village,
blood had flowed on these hills like must in the wine-presses.
Until the former mayor
said plainly, over the tables at the Angel, that in times before,
these things did not occur.
Then the lorry-driver - a hard-faced man from Calosso - jumped to his feet
and asked him where the sulphur of the co-operative
had ended up, in times before.
Even if
the farmers and the miserable ones of the village
didn't go out into the world,
in the year of the war the world had come to awaken them.
There had been people from all parts,
southerners, Tuscans, townsfolk, students, evacuees, workers -
even the Germans, even the fascists
had been of some use, they had
opened the eyes of the dumbest,
forced everyone to show himself for what he was,
you to exploit the peasant,
me so that even you have a future.
And the unsubmissive, the deserters
had showed the government of lords
that wanting is not enough for having a war.
Harm had been done too, people robbed and killed without a motive,
but not that many:
still fewer than the people
whom the powerful ones of before worked to death.
And then? How did it go?
We gave up being on our guard, we believed
in the Allies, we believed in the powerful ones of before,
who now - when the hailstorm was past -
crept out from the cellars, from the villas,
from the parish houses, from the convents. And now are at the point
where a priest, who, if he still rings his bells,
owes it to the partisans who saved them for him,
takes the defence of the republic and of two spies of the republic.
Were there partisans up there?
The partisans were everywhere.
They hunted them down like beasts. They died everywhere.
One day you would hear shooting at the bridge, the day after
they were over by Bormida. And never did they
close an eye in peace,
never was a lair safe... Everywhere spies...
I passed beneath La Mora the other day.
The pine tree at the gate is no longer there.
Nicoletto, the administrator, had it cut down. That ignoramus.
He had it cut down because the beggars
used to stop in the shade and ask.
It is not enough for him to have eaten half the house.
He does not even want a poor man
to stop in the shade and call him to account...
People who had a carriage. With the old man
it wouldn't have occurred... And the girls?
The little one, Santina, how did she end up?
She stayed at Canelli.
Nicoletto and she couldn't stand each other.
She kept the black brigades brisk.
Not possible? Santa Santina?
To think that at six years old she was so beautiful.
You didn't see her at twenty, the other two were nothing.
They spoiled her, Mr. Matthew no longer saw anyone but her.
Do you remember
when Irene and Silvia wouldn't go out with their stepmother
so that they wouldn't look bad by her?
Well, Santa was more beautiful
than the two of them and her mother put together.
You have a beautiful beast,
is the fodder from here enough for him?
You're mad, the mistress has to provide it.
How things are,
a master provides fodder for the beast,
he does not provide it for the man who works the land for him.
I'll send you that putty, then.
With the life he leads... I cannot call him a brute...
If it were nay use... It is necessary first
that the government should burn the money and whoever defends it.
Did you find the viper?
If I find it, I'll cut off its head.
If you don't tease it, even the viper won't bithe you.
If you're passing the Angel tomorrow,
I'll give you a fine jack-knife
with a clasp.
Did you ever go to find Nuto at the Salto?
You'd like it. There are benches,
planes, screwdrivers. If your father let you,
I'd have you taught a trade.
As for my father... I don't tell him.
Do you want the money or the knife?
I want the knife.
If your father sees it, he is capable of taking it from you.
Where will you hide it?
As for my father... If he takes it from me, I'll kill him.
More than on a train,
I'd like to go on a bicycle.
Today there's the match.
And you aren't going?
It isn't easy to get on board ship.
You had courage.
It wasn't courage, I ran away.
Do you remember
the speeches we made with your father
in the workshop? He said
already then that the ignorant
will always be ignorant because strength
is in the hands of those whose interest it is
that people do not understand,
in the hands of the government, the blackrobes, the capitalists...
Here at La Mora,
it was nothing, but when I was a soldier and went around
through the alleys and the docks in Genoa,
I understood what
the masters, the capitalists, the military are...
Then there were the fascists
and these things couldn't be said. But there were
also the others...
Now after so many things have occurred, I don't know
even myself what to believe,
but in Genoa that winter I believed in it,
and how many nights
we spent in the conservatory at the villa
arguing with Guido, with Remo, with Cerreti and all the others.
Then Teresa
got scared, she didn't want to let us come in any more,
and so I told her she should continue
being a servant, being exploited, she deserved it,
we wanted to make a stand and resist.
But one night Cerreti came to warn me
that Guido and Remo had been arrested,
and that they were seeking the others. Then Teresa,
without reproaching me, spoke to somebody
- brother-in-law, former master, I don't know -
and in two days she had found me some sweated labour
on a boat going to America.
Father has burnt down the house.
Everything's burnt, even the ox. The rabbits ran away.
No, no, he has killed Rosina and Grandmother.
He wanted to kill me but I didn't let him...
Then eh set fire to the straw and still sought me,
but I had the knife and so
he hanged himself in the vineyard.
The mistress from the villa had come
with her son to share the beans and the potatoes.
The mistress had said that
two rows of potatoes had already been pulled up, that she had to be compensated,
and Rosina had shouted, Valino cursed,
the mistress had come into the house to get the grandmother
to speak, too, while the son watched over the baskets.
Then they had weighed the potatoes and the beans, they had come to an agreement
looking angrily at each other. They had loaded the cart
and Valino had gone to the village.
But then in the evening when he came back,
he was in a black mood. He had begun to shout at Rosina,
at the grandmother, because they hadn't picked
the green beans before.
He said that now the mistress was eating the beans that should have been due to them.
The old woman was crying on the mattress. He, Cinto,
was standing at the door, ready to run away.
Then Valina had taken off his belt and had begun to whip Rosina.
Rosina had thrown herself against the table and was howling.
Then she had given a louder scream,
the bottle had fallen and Rosina had thrown herself
on the grandmother and embraced her.
Then Valina had given her some kicks - kicks in the ribs,
the stamped on her with his shoes, Rosina had fallen to the ground,
and Valino had again given her kicks in the face and in the stomach.
Rosina was dead, Said Cinto, she was dead and was losing blood through her mouth.
"Get up" said the father, "madwoman". But Rosina was dead,
and the old woman was silent now too. Then Valina had sought him,
and he gone. From the vineyard
no one was heard any more
except the dog who tugged at the wire and ran up and down. After a while,
Valino had begun to call Cinto.
Then he had opened the knife
and had made for the yard. The father was waiting at the door, black with rage.
When he had seen him with the knife, he had said "carrion"
and tried to catch him. Cinto had run away again.
Then he had heard that his father was kicking at everything,
that he was cursing and railing against the priest.
Then he had seen the flame.
The father had come out with the lamp in his hand, without glass.
He had also set fire to the hayloft, to the straw,
he had smashed the lamp against the window. The room where they had the fight
was already full of fire. The women didn't come out,
he seemed to hear crying and calling.
The dog went mad, barked and tugged at the wire.
The rabbits ran away. The ox was burning in the stable.
Valino had run into the vineyard, seeking him,
with a rope in his hand.
Cinto, still clutching the knife, had run away to the shore.
There he had stayed hidden, and he saw above him
against the leaves the glow of the fire.
When Cinto had no longer heard the dog or anything else,
he seemed to wake up at that moment, he didn't remember
what he was doing on the shore. Then little by little he had gone up towards the walnut tree,
clutching the open knife, mindful of the noises
and of the glow of the fire. And under the vault of the walnut tree he had seen
his father's feet dangling and the ladder on the ground.
He had to repeat all this story to the sergeant and they showed him
the dead father stretched out under a sack, if he recognised him.
They made a heap of the things found on the meadow
- the scythe, a wheelbarrow, the ladder, the ox's muzzle, a sieve.
And the next day I heard it said in the village that the mistress
was furious about her property,
that, seeing that Cinto was the only one alive of the family,
she expected Cinto to compensathe her, to pay her, they should lock him up.
The priest made it still better. Since Valino had died in mortal sin,
he wouldn't hear of blessing him in the church.
They left his coffin outside on the steps,
while the priest inside mumbled over the four blackened bones of the women,
tied up in a sack.
Everything was done towards evening, secretly.
The old women from Morone,
their veils on their heads, went with the dead to the cemetery,
gathering by the roadside daisies and clover.
The priest didn't come.
So you're going away.
You aren't coming back for the grape harvest?
Maybe I'll get on a ship,
I'll come back for the feast another year.
I've even found you another son.
Don't you want us to go to Gaminella,
up there? Let's go, it's early.
I saw her once at the Sport Café,
she herself called me, coming out to the door
I was keeping an eye on the faces going in,
but it was a peaceful morning, a sunny Sunday when people go to mass.
"You saw me when I was so high"
she said, "you believe me.
There are bad people in Canelli. If they could,
they'd set fire to me.
They'd like me to have the same end as Irene,
to kiss the hand that gives me a blow.
But I bithe it, the hand that gives me a blow."
She was smoking cigarettes that you couldn't find in Canelli.
"Take some" she had said,
"take them all. You are so many
who have to smoke, up there..."
"You see how it is" she said,
"since I knew somebody once
and played the madwoman,
you too turned away towards the shop-windows when I passed.
And yet you knew mother, you know
how I am.. you took me to the feast...
Do you think that I am not railing against these cowards too?
Now it is my due to live by eating their bread,
because my work,
I've always done it, no one has ever kept me,
but if I wanted to say my word... if I lost my patience..."
I did everything to understand if she was lying,
I even told her that these are times when one has to decide,
either here or there.
I should have asked her to act as our spy
at the command posts, but I did not dare.
Instead, the idea came to her,
and she gave me much news on troop movements, on
the bulletins of the command.
Another day she sent me word
not to come to Ganelli because there was danger,
and the Germans did raid the squares and the cafés.
She said that she wasn't asking anything, that they were
old cowardly acquaintances who came to her to relieve themselves,
and that they'd have disgusted her
if it hadn't been for the news she was thus able
to give to the patriots.
The morning that the blackshirts shot the two boys
under the plone tree and left them there like dogs,
she came on her bicycle to La mora and from there to the Salto
and spoke with my mother, she told her that if we had
a rifle or a pistol we should hide them on the shore.
Two days later the black brigade passed and turned the house upside down.
The day came when she took me by the arm and told me
she couldn't stand it any longer. To La Mora
she couldn't go back because Nicoletto was unbearable,
and the employment at Canelli, after all those deaths,
scalded her, made her lose her mind:
if this life didn't end immediately,
she'd lay her hands on a pistol and shoot someone -
maybe herself.
"I'd go to the hills, too" she said to me,
"but I can't. They'd shoot me
as soon as they see me. I am the one from the Fascist House."
Then I took her up to the shore and got her to meet Baracca.
I told Baracca everything that she had already done.
Baracca stood listening, looking at the ground.
When he spoke, he said only: "Go Back to Canelli!"
"Go back to Canelli and wait for orders.
We'll give you some."
Two months later, at the end of May
Santa ran away from Canelli
because she had been warned they were coming to take her.
The owner of the cinema said that a patrol of Germans
had gone in to search the house.
Santa ran away to the hills and joined the partisans.
When there was the mopping up in June,
she defended herself a whole night with Baracca
in a farm behind Soperga
and came to the door herself - to shout at the fascists
that she knew them one by one, all of them
and that they didn't scare her.
The next morning she and Baracca ran away.
Then two boys came to take me,
at the Salto, one evening, armed.
Baracca told me that he had sent for me to give me some news,
bad. There were proofs that our Santa
was spying,
that she had directed the mopping-up in June,
that she had brought about the collapse of the committee at Nizza, that even
German prisoners had
carried her messages and reported caches to the Fascist House.
Now the point was to seize her. There was already the written order.
Baracca kept me three days up there,
partly to make sure that I wouldn't interfere.
One morning Santa came back, accompanied.
When the partisans had arrested her,
she was bringing news about republican circulars.
It was no use. Baracca in our presence made the calculation
of how many had deserted at her instigation,
of how many caches we had lost,
of how many boys had died because of her.
Santa was listening, disarmed, seated on a chair.
Then Baracca read her the sentence
and told two men to lead her outside.
She turned round at the door,
looked at me and made a grimace like children.
But outside she tried to run away.
We heard a howl, we heard running,
and a burst of machine-gun fire which didn't end.
We went out, too,
she was stretched out on that grass in front of the acacias.
Then Baracca saw to it.
He made us cut a lot of twigs in the vineyard
and we covered her up until it was enough.
We poured petrol on it and set fire to it.
By midday she was all ashes.
Baracca, he died with those of the Ca'Nere.
Translation by Danièle Huillet
Original Timings by COLOR FILM CENTER, The Hague
Combination of Translation and Timings by Oedipax and Kane32 for karagarga.net
* in memory of Yvonne, without whom there would have been no Straub-Films at all.