Ida Travi

Photo credit: Alessandra Capodacqua

From Tà poesia dello spiraglio e della neve, 2011

(with our head under the leaf)

With our head under a leaf
our spirit grew

and grew and grew
it broke through the green roof

the barriers fell into the iron

I held your spirit in my arms
you held my face in your hand

oh charity, how it was
how we were spiritual when we were small.


(go back to being yourself)

Go back to being yourself, come away from the roses
They stand up tall in their nature
like irreducible flags
you can’t argue with roses, Inna
they’re always right.


(then you get used to it)

Then you get used to it. Things pass, you get used to it.
A fly passes in front of your nose
you see it disappear, you get used to it
like a candle, you get used to it, they’re things
you can’t break.
When the comb falls you get used to it
the comb fell, that’s all
it fell because your head was too high in the stars
Stars pass, you get used to it, the t-shirt
passes in front of your eyes, like before
the earth wheels like before
the dipper is sad, sad.

From Il mio nome è Inna, 2012

(you should see them)

You should see them
they love the tree like a father
they love the father through a screen
like a talking father
like a father being born
like a father shut in the drop
in the corner of the eye right in the middle
of the hundred out-folding arms.

(like Sasa)

Like Sasa jumping rope
like Sasa the leaf falls and teaches me the way
My feet are growing
my spine is lengthening. While I grow
I lift the child up to my height
I shed light on him.

From Katrin, saluti dalla casa di nessuno, 2015

(I call the snow)

I call the snow like a child
the snow is a child with red hair
it’s a distant relative, a bear

I call the snow and it comes
obedient, everything hushes, in the new nothingness

Under the black apron sleeps
the white shirt, under the wall of fire
your black field shines

there below …

Where the drop has fallen, where
out of nothing sprouts
the candid green leaf.


(what are you doing?)

What are you doing there in the corner, crying?

I talk to you and you turn your back
you always turn your back, you

You wanted to go away, did you?
Maybe you wanted to hide something?

They’re only drops, Usov

It wasn’t the weather
it wasn’t the wind
courage, come in!

(He wanted to take off my apron)

He wanted to take off my apron
I don’t know why
as if it were his, the apron
as if all things
were lacking a tunic

The crown was dark
the mark on the door was red

I asked: please, the name
like eating the leaf quickly
like taking the heart for the for the head

I lifted my head above all things
– sing! –
I just wanted to lift my head, I
just wanted to know the name.

(if you want to see the miracle)

If you want to see the miracle
keep the box shut
Leave the animals in their nature
remove the fence from God’s realm

Give me the red tape
and then…follow the river, and then…

Up to the branch in the water
up to the burnt stump, further
further…up to the last bramble bush

We’ll get out of this story
– believe me –


(the angel had wings)

The angel had wings
I held him on my shoulders
like a sack

Put him down, said the sky
put him down, can’t you see
he’s bigger than you?

The angel rested his feet
on the earth, the earth
was the planet of graces

All things held up his wagon
all things pushed his wheel.

Dora Pal, la terra, 2017

(you cry in the night)

You cry in the night and outside
the snow falls, hushed, hushed
I hold my shoes in my hands
shining, shining
in the white corridor of snow

You cry in the night and outside, the tree
sings in the dark. I hold my dress in my hands
shining, shining
in the white corridor of snow


This is a lament, that too
this is a thread, that too…

— it’s only weather, it’s only your father —

And when I enter the assembly
I swear, I’ll say it twice:
the snow is watching at the window
it’s watching, it’s watching…



Listen to what the old woman says

If I say – bring the stone, bring the stone
if I say – bring the fire, bring the fire

You have to do it, that’s all, a woman doesn’t get like this
for nothing, she knows if it’s right

And don’t start arguing, no one
can speak for another: it’s the law.



Light will give you solitude
underneath it all there is solitude

It comes down from the top of the bell tower

The pitcher is alone, the fountain alone
the stone is alone, the twig alone

Solitude will make you strong, in sandals
you have solitude

Animals sleep in solitude
babies sleep
then someone comes and shows the letter

So get up – say something
say something to the red rose.


Traduzioni di Brenda Porster

About the Author
Ida Travi

Ida Travi

Ida Travi’s poetry deals with the relationship between spoken language and writing. In prose in 2000 she has published L’aspetto orale della poesia, third edition Moretti&Vitali, 2007 and in 2015 Poetica del basso continuo. Moretti&Vitali have also published the poetry collections TA’ poesia dello spiraglio e della neve (2011); Il mio nome è Inna (2012); Katrin, Saluti dalla casa di nessuno (2015) and Dora Pal, la terra. (2017), a sequel in four books of Tolki (Inna, Usov, Zet, Katrin, Sasa, Sunta, Olin, Dora Pal, Suri, and Van), who appear and reappear from one book to another. The one-act tragedy Diotima e la suonatrice di flauto was published by Baldini Castoldi Dalai in 2004 and in 2011 was made into an opera. It is the subject of Mastro Andrea Battistoni’s degree essay in Composition. Some of Travi’s radio-plays and poetry have been put to music by contemporary musicians, and she has collaborated with the American composer, Scott Wheeler. Awards: Pontedilegno, Premio Tassoni, Premio Tassoni, Premio Anna Osti, listed for the Premio Viareggio. In 2015 she was awarded the Premio Laurentum, followed by a ceremony at the Quirinale. In 2015 she received the City of Lugano Premio alla Carriera. She has taken part in numerous national and international festivals and her work has been translated into English, Greek, Spanish, German and Russian.