I' HO GIÀ FATTO UN GOZZO ... A GOITER IT SEEMS I GOT ...
Michelangelo trans. John Frederick Nims


I' ho già fatto un gozzo in questo stento,
coma fa l'acqua a' gatti in Lombardia
o ver d'altro paese che si sia,
c'a forza 'l ventre appicca sotto 'l mento.
La barba al cielo, e la memoria sento
in sullo scrigno, e 'l petto fo d'arpia,
e 'l pennel sopra 'l viso tuttavia
mel fa, gocciando, un ricco pavimento.
E' lombi entrati mi son nella peccia,
e fo del cul per contrapeso groppa,
e ' passi senza gli occhi muovo invano.
Dinanzi mi s'allunga la corteccia,
e per piegarsi adietro si ragroppa,
e tendomi com'arco sor´ano.
Però fallace e strano
surge il iudizio che la mente porta,
ché mal si tra' per cerbottana torta.
La mia pittura morta
difendi orma', Giovanni, e 'l mio onore,
non sendo in loco bon, né io pittore.


A goiter it seems I got from this backward craning
like the cats get there in Lombardy, or wherever
- bad water, they say, from lapping their fetid river.
My belly, tugged under my chin, 's all out of whack.
Beard points like a finger at heaven. Near the back
of my neck, skull scrapes where a hunchback's lump would be.
I'm pigeon-breasted, a harpy! Face dribbled - see? -
like a Byzantine floor, mosaic. From all this straining
my guts and my hambones tangle, pretty near.
Thank God I can swivel my butt about for ballast.
Feet are out of sight; they just scuffle around, erratic.
Up front my hide's tight elastic; in the rear
it's slack and droopy, except where crimps have callused.
I'm bent like a bow, half-round, type Asiatic.
Not odd that what's on my mind,
when expressed, comes out weird, jumbled. Don't berate;
no gun with its barrel screwy can shoot straight.
Giovanni, come agitate
for my pride, my poor dead art! I don't belong!
Who's a painter? Me? No way! They've got me wrong.

Trans. Copyright ę Mrs. Bonnie Nims 1973

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