Tuesday, March 4, 2014

La Buona Novella:
   Tre madri - Three Mothers

Madre di Tito:
"Tito, non sei figlio di Dio,
ma c'è chi muore nel dirti addio".

Madre di Dimaco:
"Dimaco, ignori chi fu tuo padre,
ma più di te muore tua madre".

Le due madri:
"Con troppe lacrime piangi, Maria,
solo l'immagine d'un'agonia:
sai che alla vita, nel terzo giorno,
il figlio tuo farà ritorno:
lascia noi piangere, un po' più forte,
chi non risorgerà più dalla morte".

Madre di Gesù:
"Piango di lui ciò che mi è tolto,
le braccia magre, la fronte, il volto,
ogni sua vita che vive ancora,
che vedo spegnersi ora per ora.

Figlio nel sangue, figlio nel cuore,
e chi ti chiama - Nostro Signore -,
nella fatica del tuo sorriso
cerca un ritaglio di Paradiso.

Per me sei figlio, vita morente,
ti portò cieco questo mio ventre,
come nel grembo, e adesso in croce,
ti chiama amore questa mia voce.

Non fossi stato figlio di Dio
t'avrei ancora per figlio mio".

Tre madri © 1970 Fabrizio De André/Gian Piero Reverberi

Compared to the Canonical texts of the Bible, the apocrypha depict more of the human side of the story of Christ's life and less of his preaching. In "Tre madri," perhaps the emotional core of the album, De André focuses on the very human pain of three mothers watching their sons die.

Third edition
Mother of Tito:
“Tito, you’re no son of God,
but there's one who is dying in bidding you farewell.”
Mother of Dimaco:
“Dimaco, ignore him who was your father,
but, more than you, your mother is dying.”

The two mothers:
“Too many tears you shed, Mary,
for just the image of an agony -
you know that to life, on the third day,
your son will make a return.
Leave us to cry, a bit more loudly,
for the ones who won’t revive from death.”

Mother of Jesus:
“I weep for him who is taken from me,
the slender arms, the forehead, the face,
every one of his lives that still lives,
that I see slipping away hour by hour.

"Son by blood, son in spirit,
and whoever calls out to you 'Our Lord,'
in the struggle of your smile
is searching for a scrap of Paradise.

"For me you are son, dying life,
this belly of mine carried you blind.
As in the womb, and now on the cross,
this voice of mine calls you love.

"If you hadn’t been the son of God
I would have you still for my child."

English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser

First edition
Second edition

La Buona Novella, released in 1970, was written in the thick of the student protests and social upheavals of 1968/1969 including "May 68" in France and Hot Autumn in Italy. The album is based on the Biblical apocrypha. De André reminded his compatriots that Jesus was the greatest revolutionary in history, and the album was meant to be an allegory for the times. "La Buona Novella" means The Good Book, and in Italian refers specifically to the New Testament.
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