Monday, May 5, 2014

Storia di un impiegato:
   Sogno numero due - Dream #2

Imputato ascolta,
noi ti abbiamo ascoltato.
Tu non sapevi
di avere una coscienza al fosforo
piantata tra l'aorta e l'intenzione,
noi ti abbiamo osservato
dal primo battere del cuore
fino ai ritmi più brevi
dell'ultima emozione
quando uccidevi,
favorendo il potere
i soci vitalizi del potere
ammucchiati in discesa
a difesa
della loro celebrazione.

E se tu la credevi vendetta
il fosforo di guardia
segnalava la tua urgenza di potere
mentre ti emozionavi
nel ruolo più eccitante della legge
quello che non protegge
la parte del boia.

il dito più lungo della tua mano
è il medio
quello della mia
è l'indice,
eppure anche tu hai giudicato.
Hai assolto e hai condannato
al di sopra di me,
ma al di sopra di me,
per quello che hai fatto,
per come lo hai rinnovato
il potere ti è grato.

una volta un giudice come me
giudicò chi gli aveva dettato la legge:
prima cambiarono il giudice
e subito dopo
la legge.
Oggi, un giudice come me,
lo chiede al potere se può giudicare.
Tu sei il potere.
Vuoi essere giudicato?
Vuoi essere assolto o condannato?

Sogno numero due © 1973 Fabrizio De André/Roberto Dané

The worker continues to dream, but now in court presumably after having been arrested for throwing the bomb. But the judge informs him that the bourgeois powers are in the know of his acts, and accusations of murder are transformed into thanks for having eliminated old remnants that were bothering power itself, which now has found another way of governing. The worker correctly used the instruments of law, and his gesture was nothing other than a search for personal power. He is welcomed, and his own liberty is placed at his disposal.

Defendant listen,
we have heard you.
You didn’t know
about having a consciousness based on phosphorus
planted between the aorta and intention.
We observed you
from the first beat of your heart
until the shortest rhythms
of the last emotion
when you killed,
favoring power,
the lifelong associates of power,
stacked up downwards
in defense
of their celebration.

And if you believed it revenge,
the phosphorus on duty
marked your urgency for power
while you got worked up
in the most exciting role of the law,
that which doesn’t protect
the part of the executioner.

the longest finger of your hand
is the middle one.
The one for me
is the index,
and yet you too have judged.
You absolved and you condemned
above and beyond me,
but above and beyond me,
for that which you did,
for how you renewed it,
the power is grateful to you.

at one time a judge like me
judged whoever had the law dictated to him:
first they changed the judge
and immediately after
the law.
Today, a judge like me,
asks power if it can judge.
You are the power.
Do you want to be judged?
Do you want to be absolved or condemned?

English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser

Storia di un impiegato, released in 1973, tells the story of a worker who, inspired by a song about the French student riots of May/June 1968, decides to become a revolutionary. De André hoped to make a poetic interpretation of the events of 1968, but wanted to burn the album upon its release because he felt it ended up as a political album, with him telling people how to act. The lyrics were co-written with Giuseppe Bentivoglio, and the resultant anarchist/Marxist texts are sometimes confusing and obscure. The music was co-written with Nicola Piovani, who also co-wrote Non al denaro non all'amore né al cielo.
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