the poetry that matters

Federico Federici

Federico Federici was born in Liguria in 1974. He is a researcher and teacher of physics, a translator (from German, Russian and English) and a writer. He has published a number of books of prose and poetry under the name Antonio Diavoli as well as texts and critical papers in reviews, anthologies and internet journals. He translated and saw through the first book in Italian by the Hindi poet Rati Saxena, and the posthumous work of Russian poet Nika Turbina. He is editor of л: the Italian edition of Conversation magazine, within the Conversation International Poetry Project. He has taken part in festivals and readings in Italy, Germany and Poland, picture exhibitions in Italy and Germany, and video poetry and short-film festivals in Italy, Germany and Venezuela. In 2009 he was awarded the Lorenzo Montano Prize for his poetry collection L’opera racchiusa - the first book of poems to be published in his own name. In 2010 he published the Requiem auf einer Stele (Conversation Paperpress, 2010) a short poem in English, German and Russian language. His latest book is Dunkelwort (Uhu Bücher, 2013) in German and Italian.

On the internet: http://federicofederici.net



Requiem auf einer Stele

(4/12 fragments)









] thou comest


] thou com[es]t

with perfect precision ·

] · [

] quae tanta fuit tibi causa vivendi?

Neque vita causa fuit!


] scribant de te alii [

[           ]

] iamͺ petraeͺ sumite vires!

] quamve bibistis aquam? [1]



                                                            ] bl[es][se]d ·


] but of space and time ›1.5‹

[                                                                       ] ·

Есть только небоÀ

fr. 1.




das ist eine im feld gefundene stele

das ist ein im fluss gefundener stein

dies die im körper gefundenen knochen[2]


dies materiales fuerunt[3]  ›1.4‹  shortestͺ infrequent



                               ] carboniferous tubers awakening [of] ›1.3‹

                                              ] black alluvial fingers

                                    ] veins winding along

eye-pebbles and flints [ͺ curving the fields where there is no endͺ [ ›2.2‹ did not want to end

to the abandoned land

] · I’m the old riverͺ the whole riverͺ

the understanding of it

                                              ] рекаэто я[4]

fr. 2 A.



] und das sind die polierten knochen

der poeten in meinem fleisch[5]


                                              ] как лес[6] 

] redeemer of waters [

[bla]ck old tree-line in the flicker of storm ·

fr. 2 B.



carved on the names of the dead and on the short amen of grassͺ when the river freezes ten degrees below zeroͺ and its voice grows old in the parable of thunder · ¦das hart gefrorene licht[7]¦ a peat-pit under-earͺ where a closer shout could not be heard · the birdsong left mute hearts in a cage of wings · curved images lie beneathͺ awaiting old oak roots to be sucked up from hollows · ¦das wort schwitzt durch das eis[8]¦ · cormorants hanging over the moor pecked up patches of schist · ›2.1‹     you too lost yellow bonesͺ black paws and twigsͺ dense nerves left on rocksͺ ¦wie raues heuͺ totes gelbes gras[9]¦ sweeping plectrums through the light cry of springͺ when rain was typing on April waterͺ flowing slowly beneath us or close by · ¦mein gesicht geht von mir weg und bleibt fern[10]¦ · something forever gone in the work of words · ¦vor mir steht ein alter unfruchtbarer apfelbaum · meine müden hände zittern[11]¦ · [    -12-] lithe ants slowly climbͺ weighing nothing in the invisible discipline of leavesͺ of the grass which makes the wind articulate · ¦es ist zeitͺ die stunden schweben voraus[12]¦ · all falls onto the seasons of your faceͺ for all comes as a seasonͺ ¦aus dem waldͺ meinem oeden kopf[13]¦ · spring time is yet as perfect for death as the winter thresholdͺ hacked by the axe on the river’s edgeͺ where the moon-gap moves forward one millimetre each night · ¦oh wie leise tropft das licht aus jeder ader![14]¦

fr. 3.



[the] tongue of the dead in the mouth of the living speaks the numbness of exileͺ a heavy brow of such severe mercy · the tips of fingers gather numberless creases encompassing a new black hole when the day’s done · its odd twist and the continual straining makes time move straight on the skin-line and time succeeds timeͺ neat as expectedͺ powderedͺ ¦von stern zu stein[15]¦ͺ a thousand ages per minuteͺ under silent graniteͺ unheard and reconciled · I have myself removed the finest minutesͺ seconds maybeͺ the last few thousand blinks of your eyelids · may you live or die nowͺ off time · ¦blinde rosen sind ohne dornen[16]¦ · [        -5-] vowels bloom on the stems of dead flowers · bones spelled out upon the grass · ¦du spürst das wortlose wasser in allen deinen knochen[17]¦ · ›2.0‹ ear-trapͺ mouth-wellͺ gravitatingͺ sinking · the whole river’s pressure on the weirs of veins ·

fr. 4.





[1]              ...] quale fu il motivo tanto grande della vita?/ Non la vita, certo!// ...] altri scrivano di te [...// [               ]/ ...] e voi, pietre, rianimatevi!/ ...] che acqua mai beveste?/ ...]

À    there is only sky

[2]                   this is a stele found in the field/ this is a stone found in the river/ these are the bones found in the body

[3]     [those] were material days

[4]     I’m the river

[5]              and these are the polished bones/ of the poets within my flesh

[6]     like a wood

[7]     the light frost hardened

[8]     the word oozes from ice

[9]     as rough hay, dead yellow grass

[10]    my face goes away from me and keeps far

[11]    before me an older fruitless apple tree stands. my weak hands shiver

[12]    it is time: the hours hanging overhead

[13]    out of the woods, from my wasting head

[14]    oh how quietly light drips from every vein!

[15]    from star to stone

[16]    not a thorn on a blind rose

[17]    you experience wordless water in all of your bones


Rules and tips about symbols

Words and signs between open-closed square brackets have been either recovered (when hardly decipherable) or restored according to the closest reliable meaning (when completely missing).

Blank space means that a whole single line is missing.

Open square brackets on different lines span the whole surface of some missing and unrecoverable text.

Numbers between open-closed square brackets indicate the length (inches) of a fracture-erased set of words (unrecoverable).

Isolated closed square brackets indicate that we can gauge that a consistent part of the text has been lost from that point backwards, but that we can’t exactly delimit it.

Isolated open square brackets indicate that we can gauge that a consistent part of the text has been lost from that point on but that we can’t exactly delimit it.

Words between two vertical broken bars indicate those more deeply carved in the stone.

Numbers between right or left-pointing angled quotation marks indicate the depth (inches) of a hole in the stone (deeper than 1 inch).

Lower short vertical strokes indicate evident scratches on the surface of the stone.

Interpuncts indicate moss spots and other stains.



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                                                                                                             March 16, 2013