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
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!
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.
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.
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.