Italian Poetry in translation

Transmutuations and Discollusions

by Michele Colafato


In Italian

Books by the same author


Mutuazioni e sconnivenze by Michele Colafato

Mutuazioni e sconnivenze


Michele Colafato Da una vena unica

Da una vena unica


Colafato Tieni aperto

Tieni aperto


Michele Colafato

Michele Colafato /from Mutuazioni e sconnivenze 1'15


Poems from the book Mutuazioni e sconnivenze by Michele Colafato

(Written directly in English by the author)



"I hope it does..." she said,
hanging over, in a bend
of her arm
the glass of water.

Barefooted in the cold night,
the indian high-ceilings
cornered around the fan,
the rugs on the floor,
beautiful patterns of water and
trunks returning from distant
whirling expeditions,
careful glances we exchanged.

From the first sight,
you could say,
we belonged to the same
band of souls.



Without breaking a wave
No hiss or noise
While in deep sleep plunged
One still feels yards of water
above the breast
Comes the Ferry Boat
of dawn

Awaken—in the silence
distinctively one guesses the kiss
relunctantely flung to the pier
Awaken—one sifts through the sleep
the small seeds of change



it's not a matter
of a delicious agony or of
meticulously well written sighs
and thoughtful procedures

you are not here
to browse the daisy
you are not a freshman
with an orange tangerine
in your small-pocket
and the sea has already
been emptied shell by shell

you are not here to sip
cold tea or precious drinks
for that sophisticated mind
of yours

only if you wish to die
for what you are
you're here

Michele Colafato was born bilingual, Italian and Arbëresh, in a village set among fields of wheat and olive trees on the Adriatic coast of Italy, whose name Portocannone (from "Për Kanun"—where Kanun is nothing less than the all embracing oral law of the ancient Albanians, the Shqiptarë) is linked by an iron chain to the roots and strongly prescriptive ethos of the Albanian fugitives who founded it when fleeing from the Balkans who were marching into their old homeland under the shadow of the Ottoman Empire.

After a period of intense activism in Italy in the late sixties and seventies, Colafato travelled across many countries, continents and people. Amongst his published works are a book of interviews with Fiat workers, a book of essays about Ivo Andric, Ismail Kadarè and Flannery O'Connor, a biography of Mostar, the old city of the bridge in Bosnia-Hercegovina, a collection of essays about prayers and praying in different religious traditions. In the early eighties he spent two years on Californian soil experiencing in English a sense of openness and inner fluency never before known in his native languages. The poems reproduced here are among a group originally written in English and later translated into Italian.

He is married, has four children and teaches Sociology of Religions at the University of Rome, La Sapienza.


Collana Arsenale – Poetry

Michele Colafato
Mutuazioni e sconnivenze
2005 Pages 104 Euro 12,00

ISBN 978-88-89299-32-6

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Edizioni Il Labirinto