Da bambino volevo guarire i ciliegi
quando rossi di frutti li credevo feriti
la salute per me li aveva lasciati
coi fiori di neve che avevan perduti.
Un sogno, fu un sogno ma non durò poco
per questo giurai che avrei fatto il dottore
e non per un dio ma nemmeno per gioco:
perché i ciliegi tornassero in fiore,
perché i ciliegi tornassero in fiore.
E quando dottore lo fui finalmente
non volli tradire il bambino per l'uomo
e vennero in tanti e si chiamavano "gente"
ciliegi malati in ogni stagione.
E i colleghi d'accordo i colleghi contenti
nel leggermi in cuore tanta voglia d'amare
mi spedirono il meglio dei loro clienti
con la diagnosi in faccia
e per tutti era uguale:
ammalato di fame incapace a pagare.
E allora capii fui costretto a capire
che fare il dottore è soltanto un mestiere
che la scienza non puoi regalarla alla gente
se non vuoi ammalarti dell'identico male,
se non vuoi che il sistema ti pigli per fame.
E il sistema sicuro è pigliarti per fame
nei tuoi figli in tua moglie che ormai ti disprezza,
perciò chiusi in bottiglia quei fiori di neve,
l'etichetta diceva: elisir di giovinezza.
E un giudice, un giudice con la faccia da uomo
mi spedì a sfogliare i tramonti in prigione
inutile al mondo ed alle mie dita
bollato per sempre truffatore imbroglione
dottor professor truffatore imbroglione.
Un medico © 1971 Fabrizio De André/Giuseppe Bentivoglio/
"Un medico is based on "Dr. Siegfried Iseman."
As a child I wanted to heal cherry trees
when, red with fruit, I believed them injured.
For me, health had left them
with the snowy flowers they’d lost.
A dream, it was a dream, but it wasn't short-lived.
For this I swore that I would become a doctor,
and not for a god, nor either for play:
so that the cherry trees would return in bloom,
so that the cherry trees would return in bloom.
And when I was a doctor finally,
I didn’t want to betray the child for the man,
and so many came and they called themselves “people,"
sick cherry trees in every season.
And my colleagues in agreement, contented colleagues,
reading in my heart so much desire to love,
sent me their best clients,
with the diagnosis on their faces -
and for everyone it was the same:
sick with hunger, unable to pay.
And then I realized I had to understand
that being a doctor is just a job,
that you can’t give the science to people
if you don’t want to fall sick with the identical ailment,
if you don’t want the system to starve you into submission.
And the reliable system is to starve you into submission,
in your children, in your wife, who now despise you.
Therefore I sealed in a bottle those snowy flowers.
The label said: elixir of youth.
And a judge, a judge with the face of a man,
sent me off to leaf through sunsets in prison,
useless to the world and to my fingers,
branded forever a swindler, a crook,
doctor, professor, swindler, crook.
English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser
Non al denaro non all'amore nè al cielo, released in 1971, is a concept album inspired by poems from The Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters, published in 1915 and translated into Italian in 1943 by Fernanda Pivano. Each poem tells the story, as an epitaph, of one of the denizens of the fictional small town Spoon River. De André read and liked the book when he was 18, and when he re-read it years later was again struck by the relevance of the stories and the lives therein. He wanted to show, with the nine poems he chose, some aspects of life related to envy, love and the failure of science. The album was an immediate success upon its release.
I said when they handed me my diploma,
I said to myself I will be good
And wise and brave and helpful to others;
I said I will carry the Christian creed
Into the practice of medicine!
Somehow the world and the other doctors
Know what's in your heart as soon as you make
This high-souled resolution.
And the way of it is they starve you out.
And no one comes to you but the poor.
And you find too late that being a doctor
Is just a way of making a living.
And when you are poor and have to carry
The Christian creed and wife and children
All on your back, it is too much!
That's why I made the Elixir of Youth,
Which landed me in the jail at Peoria
Branded a swindler and a crook
By the upright Federal Judge!
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