Medieval illustration of bardsSonetto 26 by Giacomo da Lentini (1220-1270), Translation The Society August 4, 2019 Beauty, Culture, Poetry 7 Comments Giacomo da Lentini is a Sicilian who is generally considered the creator of the sonnet. This translation is by Leo Zoutewelle. I’ve seen it rain on sunny days And seen the darkness flash with light And even lightning turn to haze, Yes, frozen snow turn warm and bright And sweet things taste of bitterness And what is bitter taste most sweet And enemies their love confess And good, close friends no longer meet. Yet stranger things I’ve seen of love Who healed my wounds by wounding me. The fire in me he quenched before; The life he gave was the end thereof, The fire that slew eluded me. Once saved from love, love now burns more. In the original Sicilian Leo Zoutewelle was born in 1935 in The Netherlands and was raised there until at age twenty he emigrated to the United States. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from Davidson College, in North Carolina, and a Masters in Business Administration from the Darden School in the University of Virginia. In 1977, he went into business for himself in the field of land surveying, which he maintained until 2012, when he retired. Since then, he has written an autobiography and two novels (unpublished). NOTE: The Society considers this page, where your poetry resides, to be your residence as well, where you may invite family, friends, and others to visit. Feel free to treat this page as your home and remove anyone here who disrespects you. Simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Put “Remove Comment” in the subject line and list which comments you would like removed. The Society does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or comments and reserves the right to remove any comments to maintain the decorum of this website and the integrity of the Society. Please see our Comments Policy here. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window) 7 Responses Joe Tessitore August 4, 2019 The Sicilian should be read by someone with a rich, Sicilian accent. The music of the reading would be incomparable. Very beautiful, nonetheless. Reply C.B. Anderson August 4, 2019 Yes, I agree with Joe T. I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the translation, but the end result was a work of great delicacy and pointed observations about the intricacy and apparent contradictions that confront each one of us in the course of our lives. Reply Leo Zoutewelle August 5, 2019 Joe and CB, Thank you both very much for your comments. I appreciate that. Leo Reply John Heigl August 18, 2020 Commenced translating the Lentini numero uno that begins, “Love’s a desire that springs from the heart…” back in 1968 at Columbia then school went down in the protests: your nice translation brings back all the freshness from 800 years ago, thanks so much, John — reminds one a bit of that pop song “I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain ….” Cathy Dreyer October 2, 2020 I love your translation and it’s fascinating to see the original Sicilian. Is there a book of Da Lentini’s sonnets in the Sicilian dialect? I notice you are a mathematician. Do you have a view on Da Lentini’s choice of the numbers 11 and 14? I am wondering if he was playing with a jokey solution to squaring the circle. Cathy Dreyer October 2, 2020 Posting for notifications Joseph S. Salemi August 5, 2019 Da Lentini’s poems were originally composed in Sicilian, but when they were re-copied by mainland scribes in Italy they were put into standard Tuscan, and these Tuscan versions are the only ones we have now. This was true whenever vernacular languages were written down in the medieval period — the scribe would put the text into whatever dialect of the language he used. Reply Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.