Antonella Anedda

trans. Jamie McKendrick
(from the Sardinian dialect)
No ischio iscrivere de Roma in battor dies.
Meda belluria, dechidu, meda mutas 'e linu.
Forzis g˛i - sunt binti seculos - pessaint cuddos sardos
bennitos a dimandare zusstissia contra Scauro.

'Zente chene ide ... terra ue peri su mele est 'ele'

G˛i nÓrriat Cicero in faeddu suo. Ora, in mesu petras
bortat suo lumene, lestru, minutu. Ma sicutera
morint sos distimonzos, s' ape tribulat.
Reghet su mele: limba 'e lidone, gardu et sale.
How can I write of Rome in one or seven days
- a glut of beauty, taste and linen tunics.
Maybe those Sards, 20 centuries ago, felt this
when they came to plead for justice against Scaurus.

'A truthless people ... land where even the honey is gall'

Cicero said in his oration. But his name, now,
tiny and rapid, flits among the stones, and just as
then, witnesses die, the bee labours on.
Honey endures - a tongue of salt, arbutus, thistle.

Note: In 54 BC, Scaurus, proconsul in Sardinia, was accused of extortion and of being the cause of the suicide of a woman he had raped.
The Sards came to Rome to testify, but Scaurus had as his defence lawyer Cicero, who poured scorn on these unkempt figures,
covered with animal skins, bewildered among the columns of the refined Tribunal. Although guilty, Scaurus was absolved,

Copyright © Antonella Anedda 2006, trans. copyright © Jamie McKendrick 2006; publ. Modern Poetry in Translation III.4

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