(9 September 1908 – 27 August 1950 / Santo Stefano Belbo)

Death Will Come With Your Eyes

Death will come with your eyes—
this death that accompanies us
from morning till night, sleepless,
deaf, like an old regret
or a stupid vice. Your eyes
will be a useless word,
a muted cry, a silence.
As you see them each morning
when alone you lean over
the mirror. O cherished hope,
that day we too shall know
that you are life and nothing.

For everyone death has a look.
Death will come with your eyes.
It will be like terminating a vice,
as seen in the mirror
a dead face re-emerging,
like listening to closed lips.
We'll go down the abyss in silence.

by Cesare Pavese

Comments (1)

This poem has been translated into Spanish and into Isthmus Zapotec, an indigenous language of southern Mexico. I have both these and can give you the author and the anthology in which they appear. My e-mail is royce@indiana.edu. Do you have the Pavese in the original Italian?