p o e m s

r o s i t a  c o p i o l i 

When you drink, or intend to drink, from another fountain,
your eyes discover their cavity.
You start rolling, spinning
like an astronaut or a rag.
Where did you see the eyes that moved you?
Was it the fault of the one who did not love you?
You said, “You tell me you love me
but your gestures deny it.”
You said, “Only one person, whom I cannot have,
loved me without illusions.”
Roll then, from center to periphery
of harem. Stop only at the fountains
where you turn like spring,
taste again the fleeting flavor
of alternation. Thus absorbed, grab,
repeat the circumscribed victory
of martyrdom: didn’t you know that
“love has a statutory law
that one who’s loved, but does not love,
must then love, but not be believed.
Thus he feels the distress he gave.”

“love has a statutory law/… distress he gave.”  From Charles Ross’s translation of Boiardo’s  Orlando Innamorato, Book 2, Canto 15, Stanza 54  (where Amore appears to Rinaldo and castigates him  for not reciprocating Angelica’s love),  Oxford World’s Classics series, Oxford: Oxford University  Press, 1995, p.562.

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