Advent Day Eleven: Time Change/Change Time
December 11, 2015
Advent Day 13: Steady Practice
December 13, 2015
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Advent Day Twelve: Saucy

Noisy. Restless. Sauciness. I’m feeling all of these things right (11)

Primo Levi also says it all for me right now.

Unfinished Business

Sir, please accept my resignation
As of next month,
And, if it seems right, plan on replacing me.
I’m leaving much unfinished work,
Whether out of laziness or actual problems.
I was supposed to tell someone something,
But I no longer know what and to whom: I’ve forgotten.
I was also supposed to donate something —
A wise word, a gift, a kiss;
I put it off from one day to the next. I’m sorry.
I’ll do it in the short time that remains.
I’m afraid I’ve neglected important clients.
I was meant to visit
Distant cities, islands, desert lands;
You’ll have to cut them from the program
Or entrust them to my successor.
I was supposed to plant trees and I didn’t;
To build myself a house,
Maybe not beautiful, but based on plans.
Mainly, I had in mind
A marvelous book, kind sir,
Which would have revealed many secrets,
Alleviated pains and fears,
Eased doubts, given many
The gift of tears and laughter.
You’ll find its outline in my drawer,
Down below, with the unfinished business;
I didn’t have the time to write it out, which is a shame,
It would have been a fundamental work.
Translated from the Italian by Jonathan Galassi


  1. Holly Wren says:

    Wonderful! Who is the author? (I see the translator but I think this was originally in Italian, yes?)

  2. Melanie says:

    yes, yes, yes! Primo Levi…I mention his name at the very top of the post. Wonderful right?!

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