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Four Poems from Monna Innominata by Christina Rossetti

Selections from “Monna Innominata: A Sonnet of Sonnets” By Christina Rosetti, reflecting on love, life, beauty and death, choreographed by Susannah LeMarquand and performed by Anna Morris. The sonnets used are 2,14, 7 and 10 (below)

Actor: Anna Morris
Choreographer & Stage Director: Susannah LeMarquand
Poetry & Acting Coach: Robert Gonzalez
Music Composer & Performer: Gordon Bonnett
Camera and Director of Photography: Michael Richardson
Video & Audio Editor / Director: Santiago Echeverry

©2015

 

 

2

Era già 1’ora che volge il desio. – Dante

Ricorro al tempo ch’ io vi vidi prima. – Petrarca

 

I wish I could remember that first day,

First hour, first moment of your meeting me,

If bright or dim the season, it might be

Summer or winter for aught I can say;

So unrecorded did it slip away,

So blind was I to see and to foresee,

So dull to mark the budding of my tree

That would not blossom yet for many a May.

If only I could recollect it, such

A day of days! I let it come and go

As traceless as a thaw of bygone snow;

It seem’d to mean so little, meant so much;

If only now I could recall that touch,

First touch of hand in hand–Did one but know!

 

14

 

E la Sua Volontade è nostra pace. – Dante

Sol con questi pensier, con altre chiome. – Petrarca

 

Youth gone, and beauty gone if ever there

Dwelt beauty in so poor a face as this;

Youth gone and beauty, what remains of bliss?

I will not bind fresh roses in my hair,

To shame a cheek at best but little fair,–

Leave youth his roses, who can bear a thorn,–

I will not seek for blossoms anywhere,

Except such common flowers as blow with corn.

Youth gone and beauty gone, what doth remain?

The longing of a heart pent up forlorn,

A silent heart whose silence loves and longs;

The silence of a heart which sang its songs

While youth and beauty made a summer morn,

Silence of love that cannot sing again.

 

7

 

Qui primavera sempre ed ogni frutto. – Dante

Ragionando con meco ed io con lui. – Petrarca

 

“Love me, for I love you”–and answer me,

“Love me, for I love you”–so shall we stand

As happy equals in the flowering land

Of love, that knows not a dividing sea.

Love builds the house on rock and not on sand,

Love laughs what while the winds rave desperately;

And who hath found love’s citadel unmann’d?

And who hath held in bonds love’s liberty?

My heart’s a coward though my words are brave

We meet so seldom, yet we surely part

So often; there’s a problem for your art!

Still I find comfort in his Book, who saith,

Though jealousy be cruel as the grave,

And death be strong, yet love is strong as death.

 

10

 

Con miglior corso e con migliore stella. – Dante

La vita fugge e non s’arresta un’ ora. – Petrarca

 

Time flies, hope flags, life plies a wearied wing;

Death following hard on life gains ground apace;

Faith runs with each and rears an eager face,

Outruns the rest, makes light of everything,

Spurns earth, and still finds breath to pray and sing;

While love ahead of all uplifts his praise,

Still asks for grace and still gives thanks for grace,

Content with all day brings and night will bring.

Life wanes; and when love folds his wings above

Tired hope, and less we feel his conscious pulse,

Let us go fall asleep, dear friend, in peace:

A little while, and age and sorrow cease;

A little while, and life reborn annuls

Loss and decay and death, and all is love.

 

 

 

 

 

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