(Poem in English and Italian) No Country for Old Women by Mary Saracino

Howling from the mountaintops
wailing from the riverbanks
scooping the moon into their waning wombs
the old women know that lies kill,
distortions maim, hope isn’t enough to feed starving
babies, school the ignorant, put an end to war.

Like Furies, the old ones rise,
clench their furious fists against the blazing sun;
like Harpies they roar, casting dire warnings
upon the winds of change; soothsaying Sibyls
decipher omens, portend the future, speak in baffling koans.
With dakini wisdom they cut through
illusion, vote in primaries, attend caucuses,
raise their voices against power, shatter
the corrupted ceilings that chafe the crowns
of their wizened heads.

The wandering Maenads cry: “This is no country for old women.” 

Medea calls down her midnight powers,
prays for revolution, strengthens the tired tongues
of memory. Eloquence isn’t enough to heal
a wounded country; sequined celebrities
can’t mend a nation’s odiferous past. Kali avenges
her sisters, the long-patient Queens & Crones,
Maidens & Mothers. The forgotten ones
wait and watch and warn: “Beware the hubris
of ages. Beware the greedy hand that grabs the golden fleece.”

William_Blake_Hecate_Wikipedia_Image_WikiCommons_Public Domain Image.jpg

William_Blake_Hecate_Wikipedia_Image_WikiCommons_Public Domain Image.jpg

Urlano dalla cima delle montagne
piangono dalle sponde
raccolgono la luna nei grembi calanti
le vecchie sanno che le menzogne uccidono
gli stravolgimenti mutilano, la speranza non basta a nutrire 
  infanti
che muoiono di fame, a istruire gli ignoranti, a porre fine 
  alla guerra.

Come Furie si levano le vecchie,
agitando pugni furiosi contro il sole cocente;
come Arpie ruggiscono, si fanno profete di sciagura
sui venti di mutamento; Sibille vaticinanti
che decifrano presagi, leggono il futuro, parlano in koan 
  sconcertanti
Con la saggezza delle dakini disperdono
le illusioni, votano nelle primarie, partecipano a 
  riunioni,
levano le voci contro il potere, spezzano
quei corrotti soffitti di vetro che irritano
le teste canute

Queste Menadi erranti gridano: “Questo non è
un paese per vecchie.”

Medea si appella ai suoi poteri notturni
invoca la rivoluzione, rafforza lingue stanche
di memorie. L’eloquenza non basta a guarire
un paese ferito, le paillettes luccicanti delle celebrities
non ripara il fetore del  passato della nazione. Kali vendica
le sue sorelle, la lunga pazienza delle Regine & delle Vecchie,
delle Fanciulle & delle Madri. Obliate
esse aspettano e osservano e avvertono: “Attente all’hybris
delle epoche. Non fidatevi dell’avida mano che afferra il 
vello d’oro.”

Pina Piccolo is an Italian-American cultural activist who writes poetry and short essays. She is currently the coordinator for 100Thousand Poets for Change-Bologna. Her interests gravitate towards immigrant rights, social justice and movements for change.

“No Country for Old Women” was originally published at http://www.newversenews.com on April 5, 2008.

Mary Saracino is a novelist, poet and memoir-writer who lives in Denver, CO. She Is Everywhere! Volume 3, the anthology she co-edited with Mary Beth Moser, was awarded the 2013 Enheduanna Award for Excellence in Women-Centered Literature from Sofia University, Palo Alto, CA. Mary’s novel, The Singing of Swans (Pearlsong Press 2006) was a 2007 Lambda Literary Awards Finalist. Her short story, “Vicky’s Secret” earned the 2007 Glass Woman Prize. Her newest novel, Heretics: A Love Story, is forthcoming from Pearlsong Press in 2014.

Read Meet Mago Contributor Mary Saracino.

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One thought on “(Poem in English and Italian) No Country for Old Women by Mary Saracino

  1. Mary, this poem is beyond words to honor it. Raw and frightening in its powerful truth it fills me up with ‘old wisdom’ the kind we find in shattered fragments. This poem moves me from the deepest places within myself/Nature.

    Like

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