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Three Poems by Mariadonata Villa

translated by Ann G. Kilgo


from THE SIEGE by Mariadonata Villa
Raffaelli Editore, 2012


from Within the City Walls


Good Friday


in the void I plant
and a few sea


an absurd spring
on this day, and for tomorrow
a hole of silence


I dreamed
of women in labour and a dead friend
I was awoken by
the dry throat of the screaming sleeper


now tell us, Mary
what did you see on the way

nothing else is waiting for us
we have no more seasons
only tulips
in red capital letters




Ite, vita est


when things return to things
and take back their primal names
water, bread, dear
gaze that never goes away 

once again wetlands and swamps
from low embraces of the plane
find the sea

once again poplars and birches
along the wide water roads
become covered dance floors
among the accordions

again Peppino and Angela take
the hidden steps of forbidden love
half a century and an eternity long
before men
and before God



Nothing stays” is part of the forthcoming collection “Dentro Fogland” (Into Fogland)  and was originally written in English.

Nothing stays


not the kingfisher, not the butterfly
not even the flick of light
on the back of your hand

not the steps in the halflight
of sun coming down
which cast a long shadow of dance
through small feet, the other week

nothing stays, and yet

the world is still here
like an everlasting morning
even in the middle of the night

for dark creatures to give birth
to secrets


Mariadonata Villa (Italy, 1977), poet and translator, teaches in Modena, where she lives. Her debut collection, The Siege (2012) was shortlisted for the Carducci Prize. Some of her work as a poet and a translator  was featured in-print reviews  such as ClanDestino, Atelier, versodove, besides a number of on-line publications, and in the Swiss-published edition of the anthology “Davanti agli occhi c’è un ponte”. She is currently working on her second poetry collection. She has written about theatre, art, photography, also serving in the Board of Fondazione Fotografia (presently FMAV) for three years, and translated the books Deep enough for Ivorybills by James Kilgo and Lapsed Agnostic by John Waters.

Ann Kilgo was born in 1974 in Athens, GA. She received her BA in French from the University of the South (Sewanee) and her MA in French Language and Literature from the University of Georgia. After living in France for several years she moved to Modena, Italy, where she lives with her husband and two children. She teaches English and French and works as a freelance translator.

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