by Vincenzo Cardarelli
Dawn, in you alone there rests
my breathless death.
In you alone finds peace
my sleeplessness,
like a rumbling river
predatory and infernal
where each night
in vain I go to struggle.
Before you, who approach
so furtive
as to make us fear,
eavesdropping, spying,
you, too, the vaguest specter,
chill-faced dawn, the horrors cease, the phantoms flee.
Death, the black
companion of my vigil,
moves far-off
with the tread of a thief.
Then I emerge and free myself
from the shadowed wave
and, breathless, I descend
into my sleep of stone.
O dawn, O gentle dawn,
ocean of uncertain light
receiving every river.

Translated by Allen Mandelbaum