Friday, March 7, 2014

La Buona Novella:
   Ave Maria

E te ne vai, Maria, fra l'altra gente
che si raccoglie intorno al tuo passare,
siepe di sguardi che non fanno male
nella stagione di essere madre.

Sai che fra un'ora forse piangerai
poi la tua mano nasconderà un sorriso:
gioia e dolore hanno il confine incerto
nella stagione che illumina il viso.

Ave Maria, adesso che sei donna,
ave alle donne come te, Maria,
femmine un giorno per un nuovo amore
povero o ricco, umile o Messia.

Femmine un giorno e poi madri per sempre
nella stagione che stagioni non sente.

Ave Maria © 1970 Fabrizio De André/Gian Piero Reverberi

"Ave Maria" is a paean to motherhood, with no particular references to the apocrypha.

Third edition
And you go out, Mary, amongst the other people
who gather themselves around your passing.
You knew by their gazes that they do no harm
in the season of being a mother.

You know that within an hour, perhaps you will cry,
then your hand will hide a smile:
joy and pain have an uncertain boundary
in the season that lights up your face.

Hail, Mary, now that you're a woman.
Hail to the women like you, Mary,
feminine one day from a new love,
rich or poor, humble or Messiah.

Feminine one day and then mothers forever
in the season that seasons don’t know.

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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