Friday, September 5, 2014

Fabrizio De André:
    Franziska

Hanno detto che Franziska è stanca di pregare
tutta notte alla finestra aspetta il tuo segnale
quanto è piccolo il suo cuore,
è grande la montagna
quanto taglia il suo dolore
più d’un coltello, coltello di Spagna.

Tu bandito senza luna
senza stelle e senza fortuna
questa notte dormirai col suo Rosario
stretto intorno al tuo fucile.

Hanno detto che Franziska è stanca di ballare
con un uomo che non ride e non la può baciare
tutta notte sulla quercia
l'hai seguita in mezzo ai rami
dietro il palco sull'orchestra
i tuoi occhi come due cani.

Marinaio di foresta
senza sonno e senza canzoni
senza una conchiglia da portare
o una rete d'illusioni.

Hanno detto che Franziska è stanca di posare
per un uomo che dipinge e non la può guardare
filo filo del mio cuore
che dagli occhi porti al mare
c'è una lacrima nascosta
che nessuno mi sa disegnare.

Tu bandito senza luna
senza stelle e senza fortuna
questa notte dormirai col suo ritratto
proprio sotto al tuo fucile.

Hanno detto che Franziska non riesce più a cantare
anche l'ultima sorella tra un po' vedrà sposare
l'altro giorno un altro uomo
le ha sorriso per la strada
era certo un forestiero
che non sapeva quel che costava.

Marinaio di foresta
senza sonno e senza canzoni
senza una conchiglia da portare
o una rete d'illusioni.

Franziska © 1981 Fabrizio De André/Massimo Bubola

During the time De André spent in captivity, he learned much about his captors, who spoke about their lives of poverty and what it was like to always be in hiding and on the lam. In "Franziska" we have a portrait of an outlaw and his girl friend, both of whom must live their lives in a straightjacket of caution, secrecy, constraint and isolation.






They said Franziska is tired of praying
all night at the window awaiting your signal.
How small is her heart,
and grand the mountain,
how it cuts, her sorrow,
more than a knife, a Spanish knife.

You, outlaw without moon,
without stars and without luck,
this night you’ll sleep with her rosary
wrapped ‘round your rifle.

They said that Franziska is tired of dancing
with a man who doesn’t smile and can’t kiss her.
All night long in the oak
you followed her, amidst the branches,
behind the stage over the orchestra,
your eyes like two dogs.

Mariner of the forest,
without sleep and without songs,
without a seashell to carry,
or a net of illusions.

They told me Franziska is tired of posing
for a man who paints but can’t look at her.
“Strings of my heart
that you carry from my eyes to the sea,
there’s a hidden tear
that no one knows how to draw for me.”

You, outlaw without moon,
without stars and without luck,
this night you’ll sleep with her picture
tucked under your rifle.

They said that Franziska can sing no more,
and also her youngest sister will soon marry.
The other day another man
smiled at her in the street -
certainly an outsider
who didn’t know what it might cost him.

Mariner of the forest,
without sleep and without songs,
without a seashell to carry,
or a net of illusions.

English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser


The album Fabrizio De André is better known as L'indiano based on the cover (a Frederic Remington painting "The Outlier") as well as on the contents of the album. Released in 1981, the album grew out of deep reflections on the similarity between Sardinian culture and 19th century Native American culture. De André and his partner Dori Ghezzi had been kidnapped and held for almost four months in 1979 on the island of Sardinia, where De André lived much of the year. In his words, "an experience of this kind helps one rediscover fundamental values of life. You realize what it means to have warm feet, and what a great conquest it is to not have water dripping on your head while you sleep." De André and co-writer Massimo Bubola were familiar with the Native American story through books like Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee and movies like Little Big Man. De André's reflections on Sardinian and Cheyenne ways began as he sensed a similarity between the values of his captors (whom he refused to denounce at trial, stating they were the prisoners, not he) and those of Cheyenne warriors who risked death to steal horses from enemy tribes. He cited other similarities between the two peoples: economies based on subsistence not productivity, love and respect for nature, lack of interest in money beyond bare necessity, a great love for children, and both cultures being menaced by external forces invading traditional ways of life.
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1 comment:

  1. I was looking for an English translation of this song for a friend in the US and luckily I found yours! you managed to bring over the poetry of his words, so: very, very well done!

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