Thursday, March 27, 2014

Meant for the fire

Gli adulti (the adults) were always having 
conversazioni di adulti (adult conversation) while 
we sat around them and played 
with the flames of the old oil lamps,
i bambini della mia famiglia (the children in my family)
lost in long conversations
with the salamanders.

Se ti bruci, ti spacco la faccia (if you burn yourself, I'll break your face)! 
- a loving promise.
Lascia soli i capretti (leave the kids alone)!  
- a protective cry. 
Le donne della mia famiglia (the women in family)
were all too busy 
for the fire spirits.

But we danced together and
learned some beauty from them:
that we can bear any inferno (hell)
that skin cannot be our only belief, 
that a great deal of self-awareness is contained in pain,
that we are born from a quite unique spark
e siamo fatti per il fuoco (and we are meant for the fire).

(Written for Susan's Midweek Motiff: In two or more languages, I'm having a bad moment with my mother tongue, that's why I chose to go my third language, Italian. This poem is also shared with The Imaginary Garden)


  1. OH! What beauty! Conversations with the salamanders while the adults talk to each other, a world layered with repeated phrases, business, the dance and the flames of lamps, hell, spirits, self. "Meant for the fire" to me, has to do with a passionate--not passive--life. What does it mean for you? Are you speaking of martydom like Joan of Arc?

    1. I hadn't thought of Joan of Arc until your mention of her. :) I could have gone a different way if she had crossed my mind last night, but I was way too tired for the connection. :/

      'to be meant for the fire' means for me that we are going to go through hell in life, but it's ok, because we'll survive it, fire won't destroy us, it will make us stronger. Yes, I think it's that. :)

      Thanks for stopping by Susan.

      Kiss. <3

  2. This prompt was so perfect for you, Kenia and I think you have written a most innovative piece of writing. This is up there with some of the best poetry I've read - you have transcended the barriers of expression in any language and crafted something which pushes the subconscious to greater understanding of human existence. All I can say is what happened as I read your words - huge leaps of cognition in the gaps between English and Italian.

    1. You know how much I love it when you say, whatever it is you say. :) Thanks for reading me Kerry. I'm so glad you liked it. <3

    2. Just came back to say how much I love your reading! Your tone and inflection add a unique dimension to the words.

  3. Dear friends, excuse me for the background noise in the recording. I live in a loud house. :)


  4. Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh my GOSH! I love this, and your reading just makes it even more remarkable. You are really good at reading ( a lot of people read poetry too fast), and your inflections add so much to it, making listening a delight.

    I shall have to check out this challenge, because other languages can really enrich a poem. I often use Spanish, and to a lesser extent, French, in my own poems. I'm curious to know what your mother tongue is!

    As for the poem itself, I like the implied danger and the contradictory voices in Italian and the difference between the women and the men in the family (and the children, a third different camp!) it's a dangerous, volatile world, but connection and experience get us through it

  5. I liked the way you read the poem and enjoyed listening to the Italian words ... perfectly pronounced. Great poem :)

  6. I love the way this stands between a heritage language and its later translation, weaving a better basket of both, so to speak. We are meant for the fire ... what a difficult and beautiful truth.

  7. The romantics of another language together is most fascinating. Love to hear it even better. There are a lot of metaphors blended in between. Great write Kenia!


  8. wonderful==that tone of loving abuse --(agh) --so perfectly captured and the give and take of going too far--the protectiveness and preparation for what's to come and the consignment to it. Terrific. K.

  9. We were meant for the fire, weren't we? Nothing refines quite like it. You voice my feelings, Kenia. By life's challenges, the refiner's fire, I am improved.

  10. Fire is a given in is how we come through it that shows our strength...thanks for sharing your reading of the poem...It is beautiful