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Autumn Rain, Ada Negri

Updated: Oct 12, 2021

A suggestive Italian poem interpreted by actress Paola Spagnulo.

The beginning of autumn brings with it a change of climate, tasks, and habits that in many generate melancholy. Even poets, privileged interpreters of the human soul, describe with notes of sadness this season in which nature seems to be heading towards death.

Ada Negri's voice deviates from this reading, capturing the depths of human sentiment with feminine sensitivity. She focuses not on death but on the hope of rebirth. Her voice describes the certainty of the victory of life beyond appearances, both in the unchangeable rhythms of nature and in the fickle heart of humanity.

Pioggia d'Autunno

Autumn Rain

​Vorrei, pioggia d'autunno, essere foglia

che s'imbeve di te sin nelle fibre

che l'uniscono al ramo, e il ramo al tronco,

e il tronco al suolo; e tu dentro le vene

passi, e ti spandi, e si gran sete plachi.

So che annunci l'inverno: che fra breve

quella foglia cadrà, fatta colore

della ruggine, e al fango andrà commista,

ma le radici nutrirà del tronco

per rispuntar dai rami a primavera.

Vorrei, pioggia d'autunno, esser foglia,

abbandonarmi al tuo scrosciare, certa

che non morrò, che non morrò, che solo

muterò volto sin che avrà la terra

le sue stagioni, e un albero avrà fronde.

I would like, autumn rain, to be a leaf

that soaks of you right down to the fibers

that unite them to the branch, and the branch to the trunk,

and the trunk on the ground; and you inside the veins

you pass, and you spread, and you are satisfied with great thirst.

I know that winter is announcing: that soon

that leaf will fall, made color

rust, and the mud will mix,

but the roots will nourish the trunk

to rise from the branches in spring.

I would like, autumn rain, to be a leaf,

abandon me to your roar, sure

that I will not die, that I will not die, that alone

I will change my face as long as the earth has it

its seasons, and a tree will have branches.

About Ada Negri

Ada Negri was born in Lodi, Italy into an artisan family to Giuseppe Negri alongside his wife Vittoria Cornalba. She attended Lodi’s Normal School for Girls and earned an elementary teacher’s diploma. At eighteen, she took a position as schoolteacher in the village of Motta Visconti, on the Ticino, near Pavia. Her first volume of lyrics, Fatalità, (1892) confirmed her reputation as a poet, and led to her appointment to the normal school at Milan. Her second book of poems, Tempeste (1896), tells the helpless tragedy of the forsaken poor.

On 28 March 1896, she married industrialist Giovanni Garlanda of Biella, who had fallen in love with her from reading her poetry. By 1904 they had daughters, Bianca and Vittoria. The latter died in infancy. In 1913, Negri separated from her husband and moved to Switzerland with Bianca. Afterwards, she constantly moved. She was a frequent visitor to Laglio on Lake Como, where she wrote her only novel, an autobiographical work, Stella Mattutina (Morning Star), published in 1921, and in English in 1930. During an extended stay on Capri that began in March 1923, she wrote I canti dell'isola.

She became the first woman member of the Italian Academy in 1940. That achievement, however, also stained her later reputation since members of the Academy had to swear loyalty to the Fascist regime and were rewarded by it with various material benefits. On 11 January 1945, her daughter Bianca found Negri dead in her studio in Milan. She was 74 years old.

About Paola Spagnulo

"Good at acting on stage or in front of a camera, bad at lying to my mother, friends, or anyone who interfaces with me. Although it always generates amazement, I am 30 years old, but I am never chosen to play roles of my age. In fact, I still don't know who really I am. I studied theater at the "A. Galante Garrone" in Bologna, and I have acted in films and shows and in some commercials. I sing, but I don't like someone listening to me. Sometimes I draw, sometimes I meditate, sometimes I pet my cats. I often change my opinion except on one thing: pizza". - Paola Spagnulo

Stay in touch with Paola

Instagram: @pdipaola

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