The Cat Will Know

Again the rain will fall
on the sweet pavements,
a light rain
like a breath or a footstep.
Again the breeze and the dawn
will blossom lightly
beneath your footstep
as you reenter.
Among flowers and sills
the cats will know it.

There will be other days.
There will be other voices.
You will smile alone.
The cats will know it.
You will hear antique words,
tired and empty words
like the disused costumes
from yesterday's festivals.

You too will make gestures.
You will respond with words—
face of Spring,
you too will make gestures.

The cats will know it,
face of Spring;
and the light rain,
the hyacinth-color dawn,
that tears the heart of one
who no longer longs for you,
they are the sad smile
you smile alone.
There will be other days,
other voices and awakenings.
We will suffer at dawn,
face of Spring.

(A translation of a poem by Cesare Pavese-translated from the Italian by Linh Dinh/Original title by Pavese in English, written for his lover, the American actress Constance Dowling)

by Linh Dinh

Comments (1)

There is a similarity in treatment of the cat metaphore there as in the Neruda. This has a much more relaxed approach. Neruda's cat threatened to pounce, but here there is a feeling of the cat being at one with itself: serenity! Your use of the metaphor is astonishing and you have drawn attention to the individual to be at one with itself. In this sense it is as a continuation of the Neruda.