Reveille

In the brutal nights we used to dream
Dense violent dreams,
Dreamed with soul and body:
To return; to eat; to tell the story.
Until the dawn command
Sounded brief, low
'Wstawac'
And the heart cracked in the breast.

Now we have found our homes again,
Our bellies are full,
We're through telling the story.
It's time. Soon we'll hear again
The strange command:
'Wstawac'


Translated by Ruth Feldman And Brian Swann


Anonymous submission.

by Primo Levi

Other poems of LEVI (3)

Comments (6)

Thanks again to Fabrizio for the clarifications! Such a sad reminder of Auschwitz and the other death camps.
In true sense, Modern poem. Laconic but capable to express a lot. wonderful poem in deed.
I like the translation by Ruth Feldman And Brian Swann, but I'd prefer some little changes.. starting with the title: it is more than a call to reveil, it is a 'command / order': ''GET UP! '' - - The prisoners were not in a 'normal prison': they were in Auschwitz's death camp - - _________ GET UP! We used to dream in those brutal nights Dense, violent dreams Dreamed with soul and body: To return; to eat; to tell our story. Until it sounded - brief, low The command of dawn: Wstawac ''; And the heart cracked in the chest. Now we've recovered our homes, Our bellies are full, We've just finished telling the story. It's time. Soon we'll hear again That foreign command: Wstawac ''. - - ALZARSI Sognavamo nelle notti feroci Sogni densi e violenti Sognati con anima e corpo: Tornare; mangiare; raccontare. Finché suonava breve sommesso Il comando dell’alba: «Wstawac'»; E si spezzava in petto il cuore. Ora abbiamo ritrovato la casa, Il nostro ventre è sazio, Abbiamo finito di raccontare. E’ tempo. Presto udremo ancora Il comando straniero: «Wstawac'». _________ «Wstawac'» is 'Get up' in Polish
Primo Levi's note: ''Wstawac'' means Get up in Polish. It refers to the first 'command', shouted at dawn, in Auschwitz's death camp.
ITALIAN Text: ___________ Alzarsi Sognavamo nelle notti feroci Sogni densi e violenti Sognati con anima e corpo: Tornare; mangiare; raccontare. Finché suonava breve sommesso Il comando dell’alba: «Wstawac'»; E si spezzava in petto il cuore. Ora abbiamo ritrovato la casa, Il nostro ventre è sazio, Abbiamo finito di raccontare. E’ tempo. Presto udremo ancora Il comando straniero: «Wstawac'». 11 gennaio 1946 (Primo Levi)
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