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Le Api dell'Invisibile - Ossigeno poetico

Le Api dell'Invisibile torna con un'uscita speciale dedicata alle parole dell'affermato poeta turco Ataol Behramoğlu e all'ispirazione che da esse hanno saputo trarre le giovanissime Ilaria Guarisco e Michela Primerano, che nel corso dell'anno hanno collaborato con La Casa della Poesia di Como nell'ambito del progetto di Alternanza Scuola-Lavoro.

Un'uscita eccezionale per la rubrica dunque anche nei contenuti. Oggi Le Api dell'Invisibile propone di riflettere sul meccanismo con cui la poesia agisce quotidianamente per ciascuno di noi. Proviamo a pensare al cervello umano come a un sistema di ricorcolo dell'aria e ci verrà facile comprendere perchè è importante celebrare e promuovere il lavoro che queste due giovani hanno compiuto su poesie altrui. Stare chiusi nella propria scatola a chiusura ermetica, bastevoli a se stessi, porta di sicuro alla morte per asfissia: per sopravvivere abbiamo bisogno di cambiare ossigeno, abbiamo bisogno di un ricircolo d'aria. Così anche la scrittura e le parole non bastano a se stesse e a chi le scrive, ma necessitano di essere lette, rilette e reinterpretate. Il lavoro di Ilaria e Michela dimostra quanto sia possibile e bello fare nostre le parole altrui, a un livello di empatia e comprensione così intimo da potersi quasi scordare da quale fonte esse si siano originate. La mente umana funziona solamente con l'opzione ricircolo sempre attiva: facciamo circolare pensieri, esperienze e sentimenti altrui dentro noi stessi; ma ciò che davvero rende l'essere umano straordinario è la sua capacità di rendere proprio ciò che è stato creato da altri. Con le loro opere Michela e Ilaria non hanno celebrato solamente la creatività di Ataol Behramoğlu, ma anche la loro stessa inventiva insieme a quella di tutti coloro che ogni giorno prendono le parole altrui e se ne lasciano ispirare per creare qualcosa di nuovo e altrettanto straordinario.

"Turchia, mia infelice terra, mia amabile terra"

di Ataol Behramoğlu

(traduzione dall'inglese di Ilaria Guarisco)

Turchia, mia infelice terra, mia amabile terra

Girasole dallo stelo piegato

Sei il futuro della poesia e dell’amore

Turchia, mia infelice terra, mia amabile terra

Vento di montagna, il miele d’arancio

Umile, abile, vibrante di passioni

Turchia, mia infelice terra, mia amabile terra

Sposa il cui destino è inciso nell’oscurità

Il latte asciutto nel suo seno

Turchia, mia infelice terra, mia amabile terra

Nel profondo bruci di un fuoco impetuoso

Impoverita nelle mani di ladri

Turchia, mia infelice terra, mia amabile terra

Mia saggia ricca di esperienza

I poeti: Yunus, Pir Sultan, Nazim

Turchia, mia infelice terra, mia amabile terra

Canti popolari, lamenti funebri, danze popolari

Pane fresco dal forno

Turchia, mia infelice terra, mia amabile terra

Mia madre, il suo viso tutto rugoso

Mio melograno piangente, melo sorridente

Turchia, mia infelice terra, mia amabile terra

Luce solare sui vigneti

Meritevole del più meraviglioso futuro

Turchia, mia infelice terra, mia amabile terra

Ti contorci sotto le catene

Quando ti si pensa finita hai appena iniziato

"Lirica a una bambina in piedi presso la porta"

di Ataol Behramoğlu

(traduzione dall'inglese di Ilaria Guarisco)

La bambina in piedi presso la porta

Mi richiama una visione rurale

Scintille di sole nei suoi capelli

Nei suoi occhi si agita l'oceano

Nella bambina in piedi presso la porta

Tutte le ere si fanno complete

Le montagne nascono con un crepitio

I potenti oceani diventano profondi

Gli amori iniziano e giungono a una fine

E il mondo continua a girare

La notte e il giorno si trascinano l’un l’altro

In ordine, senza deviare

La bambina sta in piedi presso la porta

Inconsapevole di tutto questo

Da dentro di lei e senza

La vita fluisce senza sosta.

Riflessioni di Ilaria Guarisco sulle poesie di Ataol Behramoğlu


Give me a cigarette, my mother died

She died this morning around five I suppose

Allah Allah, my dear, what’s the big surprise

I told you, that’s all, my mother died

Don’t look at me like that, you’ll make me laugh

If we had a mirror, you’d see how dumb you look

Just my touch would make you too laugh

Why don’t you give up playing it by the book

This past year she didn’t even play the violin

As her wrinkles multiplied, she grew angry

They were dad’s fault, as though made by him

And she kept on saying, no one understands me

If you want, let’s go to the movies or something

There’s a Nadya film playing at the Tayyareh

My younger brother cried a lot yesterday evening

Really, what’s up with Sabiha anyway?

The first poem I translated was “Sabiha”, which deals with the poet’s grief after his mother’s death. I was particularly struck by the fact that what emerges from the poem is Ataol’s resignation, more than his pain; he already knew his mother was going to die soon. She couldn’t play the violin anymore in the past year, so it was no surprise to him when she left this world. In this kind of poems, the ones that talk about a beloved’s death, the poet usually turns to divine in order to ask for a reason to such loss or to be freed from the burden of pain. Here instead, Ataol mentions Allah when he states that this death was expected, also because of his father whom he blames for his mother’s “wrinkles”, an image to represent her anger and frustration since she wasn’t understood. Nevertheless, reading between the lines I noticed the poet’s great pain hidden behind his words when he suggests going to the movies; he’s looking for a distraction, a way to occupy his mind with something other than his loss. The poem ends with a question: he’s wondering “What’s up with Sabiha”, as if her death didn’t happen. He’s in denial, he went so far into his search for distraction that now he puts everything in doubt.


There, where Walt Whitman is from, a black

In Harlem, its leaves after rain

Glass of gin, a double martini

As if feeling myself there in the dark

In Harlem, its leaves after rain

My hands and flesh that I left behind

If I don’t shut up, I’ll lose my mind

It’s like I have another me in train

Glass of gin, a double martini

I thought of your loveliest places

I thought of your loveliest places in the ugliest places

To forget and to die involved so little pain

As if feeling my self there in the dark

I perceived so many strange things

On Harlem a strange rain had begun to fall

There, where Walt Whitman is from, three blacks

The second poem, “A very strange black”, is more focused on matters of political and civic interest. Here I caught the poet’s desire for change. His motherland, Turkey, is under a regime that doesn’t leave much freedom of thought, and that oppressess minorities. He mentions Walt Whitman, a reference point in the battle for their rights fought by people of color in the United States. As I see it, Ataol implies that the Turkish people should follow their example and claim democracy, they should join together and fight. This idea of joining together is stressed by the fact that in the first line, only one black man is mentioned, whereas in the last one, there are three. Ataol never brings up the idea of moving away from his country, he just wants it to change. The idea of rain expressess this quite effectively; water washes away the old and reveals the new. Obviously, so as to change a whole country it is necessary to start from oneself; that’s why he has “another him in train”, he’s trying to become a better version of himself.


Today I made love and then I joined in a march

I’m exhausted, it’s spring, I’ve got to learn to shoot a gun

this summer

The books pile up, my hair’s getting long, everywhere there’s

a rumble of anxiety

I’m still young, I want to see the world, how lovely it is

to kiss, how lovely to think, one day surely we’ll win

One day surely we’ll win, you money-changers of old,

you goose-brains, you grand-vizier!

My beloved is an eighteen year-old girl, we’re walking down

the avenue, eating a sandwich, talking about the world

Flowers blossom ceaselessly, the wars go on, how can everything

end with a bomb, how can they win, those filthy men

Long I ponder, I wash my face with water, dress myself

in a clean shirt

This tyranny will end one day, this feast of plunder will end

But I’m tired now, I’m smoking a lot, a dirty overcoat

on my back

Furnace smoke rises into the sky, in my pockets

books of poetry in Vietnamese

I think of my friends at the other ends of the earth,

of the rivers at its other ends

A girl dies quietly, dies quietly over there

It is clear that this poem belongs to Ataol’s youth. It’s much longer than the other two, and it’s a continuous flow of thoughts and images that pour out of his impetuosity. There isn’t a logical order in this poem, but we can get what the sense is; the composition is like a chant, a marching song against the war in Vietnam and other civic problems. The time for change is now, Turkish young people march and state this. It’s no longer possible to stick to the old school of thought, the country needs renewal. Ataol is aware that he risks his personal freedom, because he could get arrested at any given moment, but this doesn’t stop him, he is not afraid and accepts his fate. Lastly, I noticed an analogy between the young girl who dies in Vietnam without being heard by anyone and Ataol’s lover, who fights the same battle for freedom.


Turkey, my unhappy land, my lovely land

Sunflower with bowed neck

The future of poetry and love

Turkey, my unhappy land, my lovely land

Mountain wind, the honey of oranges

Humble, skillful, passionate

Turkey, my unhappy land, my lovely land

The bride whose fate is inscribed in black

The dried up milk in her breasts

Turkey, my unhappy land, my lovely land

Burning deep inside with a raging fire

distressed in the hands of thieves

Turkey, my unhappy land, my lovely land

My wise and experienced land

The poets: Yunus, Pir Sultan, Nazim

Turkey, my unhappy land, my lovely land

Folk songs, dirges, folk dances

Bread fresh from the oven

Turkey, my unhappy land, my lovely land

My mother, her face all wrinkled

My weeping pomegranate, smiling quince

Turkey, my unhappy land, my lovely land

Sunshine on the grapevines

Deserving of the most beautiful future

Turkey, my unhappy land, my lovely land

Writhing beneath her chains

Beginning where they thought her done

This poem reminded me of a funeral dirge because of the recurring repetition of the first line, which is also the title. The anaphora is in fact typical in this kind of composition, where the name of the dead person is often mentioned, in this case, the name of the poet’s land. Along with this, I noticed the strong presence of the idea of light and rebirth expressed by images such as the sunflower, honey, fresh bread, grapevines and especially the pomegranade, that is a fruit full of seeds, typically a symbol of birth. These are all in contrast with strong and dark themes like the raging fire, the bride with no milk in her breast or the chians that restrain the country. The poet sees the tragic condition of his land, but he is certain that Turkey can rise again, it’s not hopeless. The country is wise, it’s like an old mother rich in experience. It also has a glorious past and a beautiful culture, as demonstrated by the three Turkish poets mentioned. Others may think that Turkey is dead and “done”, and they can’t see a future for this country, but it is not Ataol’s case: he sees his motherland’s many resources, its strenght, and he knows that one day Turkey will rise up against the thieves that have robbed it and tried to end it.


I raised my face to the clouds

Murmuring as though in prayer

Washing myself with birds and grasses there

With the winds and springtime

The sun on my eyelids is warm

Ah! That fickle springtime sun

Is this real, or do I dream

I am here, or am not it seems

In a southern town, a coffeehouse by the shore

In waves, ears of grain endlessly roll

Here, alone with myself

This is how I can make my life whole

I have never kissed a bird on its tongue

Some day, perhaps, I can kiss one so

Some day, perhaps, I'll become a gust of wind

And across the ears of grain I'll blow

I want my heart to merge with a summer's day

In birdsong to be born anew

This is a more lyrical poem; Ataol describes the sensations he feels when he is surrounded by nature. He feels the warmth of sunlight on his closed eyes, the sound of chirping birds, the winds of springtime on his skin. I flet his wish to become a whole with nature: he says that maybe one day he’ll become a gust of wind and blow in a field of grain, he wants to kiss a bird and merge with a day of summer. This sequence of images linked to nature’s rebirth during springtime gave me a sense of peace. What came to my mind while reading this poem was the memory of myself lying on the grass sunbathing in a meadow where I have been last summer, on the shore of a lake near where I live; it’s a very pleasant memory.


That summer sun which blinds my eyes

Turns into the image of a vanishing love

A sense of being lost that brings hints to me of my childhood

From the alienation within on desolate afternoons

A traveler who's lost his way in a strange town

Who knows whence come and going whither

An echo, that will never return to its voice

Repeating itself forlornly in the emptiness

Ever does that summer sun, that unconsoling sun above

Turn into the image of a vanishing love

The river was flowing like a dark night

Writhing in the depths of the gorge

I gazed upon it from a hillock

My spirit flowing along with it

Its breast rose and fell

Illuminated by a frigid moon

How it was filled with itself alone

How oblivious it was and naked

Its song, the pain-filled song of the universe

Longing for freedom and yet imprisoned

River of night, brother of my spirit

It was flowing, colliding with its banks

My thoughts about these two poems go hand in hand because they both summoned the same feelings in me when I read them. They both deal with loss: the first one talks about the loss of a lover, whereas the second one about the end of summer. All this made me feel some kind of melancholy, reminding me of my personal experience. I felt the sadness I always feel at the end of August, when the summer vacations are almost over and we have to go back to our everyday life, giving up the sense of freedom and well being that summer always brings.

I noticed a similarity between these two poems and romantic poetry belonging to the 19th century; poets of that time indeed often used natural elements as a mirror for their feelings, stressing the bond between man and nature, as Ataol does in these compositions.


The child standing at the door

Recalls a rural vision

Sunshine kindles in her hair

In her eyes stirs an ocean

In the child standing at the door

All the ages are made complete

With a crackle mountains are born

The mighty oceans grow deep

Loves begin and come to an end

And the world keeps on turning

Night and day trail one another

In order, undeviating

The child standing at the door

Is unaware of any of these

From inside her and without

Life flows on without surcease

In this poem I really appreciated the constrast bewteen something small and fragile like a child and something ancient and mighty like the ocean or the passing of time. Our time on this world is extremely brief and for us everything has an end, even love, the strongest and most compelling feeling. The universe, however, continues to exist: time is an infinite succession of geological eras and the mark left by men in all these is unimaginalby small, almost insignificant, like the child.

In my view, the choice of a child rather than a person in any other stage of life is remarkable. Children have something adults often lose or forget: the power of imagination, of looking behind what appears and seizing the very essence of things. They haven’t lost their innocence yet, and they are unaware and naive.


Suddenly, a long-ago night

Of its own accord in me born

The depot of a small town

And a motionless train

Everything sleeps, even the night

Only the stars are awake and I

Perhaps it is snowing persistently

Perhaps raining thinly

A song, just on the tip of my tongue

Made up of words forgotten now

Suddenly the cars move

A woman gazes from the window

A woman lost in dreams, pensive

A woman, looks at me without seeing

The cars pass, one after the other

The woman and train are lost to my sight

Yet ever do I recall that night

Out of a thousand nights

This poem is suspended in time; there is a sense of waiting for something about to suddenly happen. In a dark and gloomy night, the poet finds himself near the train station, supposedly in the outskirts of a town. Everything is still, silent, dark: and all of a sudden, the cars begin to move and a woman gazes out of a window. This woman is the only element of light and liveliness in the situation described.

The night recalled by the poet apparently lacks of anything remarkable; it is an ordinary, quiet night. Yet, Ataol preserves its memory out of another thousand, because it has a specific meaning to him. In fact, this often happens; small things that are forgettable and irrelevant to others, could leave a particular mark on us and become essential.


Mi chiamo Ilaria Guarisco, ho diciassette anni e frequento l’indirizzo linguistico al liceo Teresa Ciceri a Como. Tra pochi mesi sarò in quinta e dovrò iniziare a pensare al futuro; mi piacerebbe portare avanti lo studio delle lingue straniere, ma vorrei anche coltivare la mia passione per la fotografia e farne una professione. Lo scorso anno infatti ho frequentato un corso tenuto nella mia scuola che mi ha permesso di entrare in un mondo, quello della fotografia appunto, che richiede grande impegno e perseveranza ma che stimola molto la propria creatività, oltre ad aprire molte porte. Alle scuole medie ho studiato il francese oltre all’inglese, e questo mi ha permesso di maturare un grande interesse per le lingue. Mi piacerebbe molto studiare l’arabo e il giapponese, che sono entrambe abbastanza complicate per un’occidentale, in quanto non utilizzano il nostro alfabeto e hanno una pronuncia completamente diversa, ma trovo che siano estremamente affascinanti oltre che utili sul piano delle opportunità lavorative in un mondo sempre più globalizzato. Nel tempo libero amo anche leggere, in particolare i generi del giallo e del fantasy ma anche classici, biografie e a volte qualche fumetto. Penso sia un’attività che ciascuno dovrebbe fare, perché è estremamente utile per sviluppare una buona proprietà di linguaggio, oltre che per ampliare il proprio bagaglio culturale.

"They were eyes"

di Ataol Behramoğlu

(interpretazione per immagini di Michela Primerano)

They were eyes,

that kindle with mute


They were eyes, that make useless the


They were eyes, impassioned, tender,


They were eyes, mother, lover, friend

They were eyes.

They were eyes, in a child’s innocence

Like a heart, throbbing

They were eyes, that while gazing on the world

Rendered it brilliant with meaning

They were eyes, that embraced me with glances

They were eyes, for which now I hopelessly long

They were eyes, that are no more

They were eyes, that are forever gone

They were eyes, the eyes of my childhood

Who knows in what worlds they now are

Perhaps, on the trail of glass beads

In a girl’s braided hair

And the eyes of my early youth

Searching for the first poems

Chasing after the first passions

And cloudy dreams

They were eyes, simply wishing

To believe that life must be deathless

They were eyes, tamely extinguished

Like a light in the darkness

They were eyes, that kindle with mute sorrow

They were eyes, mother, lover, friend

They were tender, anxious, impassioned

They were eyes, the eyes of those I loved.


Mi chiamo Michela Primerano, abito a Como ed ho 18 anni. Frequento il liceo linguistico Teresa Ciceri (Como), dove ho la fortuna e la possibilità di studiare tre lingue straniere: inglese, francese e tedesco. Ognuna di queste lingue ha saputo catturarmi, in un modo o nell'altro, anche se preferisco il francese, con la sua dolce melodiosità e il tedesco, con la sua ricchezza di termini dalle mille sfumature differenti. Ho sempre amato leggere, fin da bambina, ma ho avuto modo di sviluppare e approfondire questa mia passione solo durante l'adolescenza. Prediligo i generi fantasy, fantascientifico, distopico e i classici. Agli albori della mia adolescenza ho inoltre avuto la fortuna di entrare in contatto con il mondo dei manga, i fumetti giapponesi, e degli anime, i cartoni animati giapponesi, di cui sono ancora appassionata. Sono molto affezionata alle poesie di Giacomo Leopardi. Amo passare il mio tempo libero con mio fratello e mia sorella minori.

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