Giovanni Nadiani

Friday 19 October 2012 08:40

Giovanni Nadiani was born 1954 in Cotignola near Ravenna. He lives in Faenza. He has won many prizes for his poetry, prose and performance. His cabaret monologues such as Romagna Garden accompanied by the jazz band Faxtet are extremely popular. He is a professor of German literature at the universities of Modena and Trieste, and of Translation studies at the university of Bologna at Forlì. He is editor-in-chief of the Italian online-journal for translation studies inTRAlinea ( and since 1985 of the magazine for literature and graphics Tratti.

In the translation of this text from the original Romagnolo I had the assistance of Mario Giosa.

Giovanni Nadiani’s official website

Giovanni Nadiani and Faxtet perform (Romagnolo)

Wikipedia entry on Romagnolo

from: Guardrail

we  don''t know the why of it

and no-one  remembers

the day and which of us

first got it into his head

but every night bang on nine-fifty

we  stop playing

turn our cards face down on the table

and we don''t care

if  someone messes with them

and  we get out of the café …

we turn our faces to the sky

in the last rays of the sun

and we all want to be first to see

the hiccuping of the lights

of the Ryanair flight

coming in from London Stansted

to land in Forlì

at the foot of Bertinoro...

no-one speaks

we are watching the big bird

slowly slowly coming

thinking of those people inside

and we are melancholy for no good reason

maybe for all those stories

over our heads

wandering the face of the world

or maybe only for us

who have never been anywhere

so when we decide to fly ourselves

in our own planes

with a lump in our throats

it will be forever

with no one to remember us...


we only want

to stay here a little longer

on this Sunday afternoon

brushed by the breeze

which is coming and going

sitting in bare feet

stretched on the grass

looking up

at the slow pale clouds

crossing one by one

the dark blue of our thoughts...

feeling this warm breeze

closing our eyes

and the weariness of our days

leaching from our bones

and for once deceiving ourselves

it will be the same

also on that day

with the wind

sighing in the dust

to scatter us lightly

in another world


we who lean against the walls

beaten by the afternoon sun

to keep our necks

from the bitter mistral

hands frozen in our pockets

jiggling the few bob

we who already feel

that no sun can hold

against the hail

that before we even know it

will soak us through

completely riddled

only round the corner from home…


we who keep the windows down

tearing round the orbital

we never notice

the thorns are in flower

that scent for a second

is in our noses

and we’re drunk on it

so it turns our heads

beyond the steel guardrail

and we don''t know

where it comes from

only we half-remember

when we were kids

an evening in may

barefoot by the river …

and so it seems to us

that life

is all there

in that scent

we still have in the nose

though we no longer know

where it came from

Translated by Mario Giosa and William Wall

© Copyright of the originals Giovanni Nadiani

The translations are Creative Commons