Louisa Calio and Elisabetta Marino (tr.)

Angie’s Hands Have Seasoning

 

Angie’s hands have seasoning

the neighbors and relatives would say

when they got to partake

in one of her homemade meals.

Her hands would go through

each tomato or vegetable

sorting the good from the bad

the freshly picked garden varieties

delicately, as though she was touching

a bit of eternity or the cosmic web

lined with ancient secrets;

she could sense the life force in the greens or reds

the messages of love carried from the ancestors

which seemed mirrored in her warm

and well worn hands.

 

Without any ego driven desire

she took her medium of expression

and laid it out perfectly on the table

like an artist preparing her tools

for an object of great beauty;  

she worked with focus and intention

to shape her creation.

Then before cooking the ingredients of any dish

whether a complex pastry, homemade ravioli

or a simple soup she mixed,

Angie placed her hands a few inches

above the contents

the way a healer does when

he scans the human energy field

and moved them around

not like a magician to distract the viewer

but with tenderness, sensitivity,

an awareness of the mystery

She knew the greatness within the small

the secrets of how to nourish us all

with what she created through nature

and those well seasoned hands.

 

Li Manu di Angie Davanu Sapuri

 

Li manu di Angie davanu sapuri,

Dicianu amici e parenti,

Quannu s’assittavanu a unu di li so’

Pranzi fatti ‘ncasa.

Li manu spezionavanu ogni pumaroru

O la virdura,

Scigliennu chiddi boni appena coti di

Lu iardinu cu dilicatizza’

comu si stassi tuccannu

un cocciu d’eternita`

o la trizza di l’universu

adornatu di sigreti antichi.

Angie sapia, sintia, vidia l’energia viva

Capia li missaggi d’amuri

Di l’antenati e parianu riflessi ‘ni li soi

Manu cavuri e cunsumati.

 

Senza nuddu disiu di essiri vista,

Pigghiava lu megghiu menzu di espressioni

E lu mittia senza peccu supra la tavula

Comu n’artista chi si pripara li strumenti

Pi rializzari un oggettu di biddizza granni.

Travagghiava cuncintrata e attenta

pi dari forma a la so` criazioni.

Poi prima di mmiscari l’ingredienti

Di qualsiasi piattu

Sia chi fussi ‘na cosa duci cumplicata,

Ravioli fatti ‘ncasa o ‘na suppa semplici.

Angie ci mittia  li manu supra

A distanza di qualchi centimitru

Comu fannu chiddi chi sentinu e movinu

Cu li manu l’energia umana

E li muvia comu fa un magu pi distrarri

L’attinzioni di cu talia.

Ma lu fa cu ducizza, sensibilita`

E consapevoli di ddu misteru.

Canuscia la grannizza di li cosi  nichi

E li sigreti di comu nutricarini a tutti.

cu chiddu chi criava tramiti la natura

e ddu sapuri di ddi so’ manu antichi

 

Translated into Sicilian by Nino Provenzano

 

Le mani di Angie davano sapore

(per mia nonna Angelina Consolmagno Marchesani)

 

Le mani di Angie danno sapore

dicevano vicini e parenti

quando partecipavano a uno dei suoi pranzi fatti in casa.

Le mani passavano in rassegna ogni pomodoro o verdura

separando i buoni dai cattivi

le varietà dell’orto, appena colte,

con delicatezza, come se stesse toccando un granello d’eternità

o l’intreccio del cosmo, orlato di segreti antichi;

sapeva percepire l’energia vitale negli ortaggi verdi e in quelli rossi

i messaggi d’amore dei predecessori

che sembravano riflessi nelle sue mani calde e consumate.

 

Senza desiderio alcuno di farsi notare

prendeva il suo mezzo d’espressione

e lo disponeva, impeccabile, sul tavolo

come un artista che prepara i suoi strumenti

per realizzare un oggetto di grande bellezza;

lavorava concentrata e attenta

per dare forma alla sua creazione.

Poi, prima di mischiare gli ingredienti di qualsiasi piatto

sia che fosse un dolce elaborato, ravioli fatti in casa

o una semplice zuppa,

Angie vi poneva sopra le sue mani, a qualche centimetro,

come un guaritore quando scruta il campo d’energia nell’uomo

e le muoveva

non come fa il mago, per distrarre l’attenzione di chi guarda,

ma con dolcezza, sensibilità, e consapevolezza del mistero.

 

Conosceva la grandezza in ciò che è piccolo

i segreti di come nutrirci tutti

con quello che creava attraverso la natura

e quel sapore dalle sue mani antiche.

 

Translated into Italian by Elisabetta Marino

 

Louisa Calio is an internationally published, award winning author, performer, and photo artist. Louisa earned a BA in English (Special Honors) and Masters from Temple University. She won the Connecticut Commission on the Arts Award to Individual Writers, 1st  Prize for “Bhari” fr. City of Messina, Sicily (2013), 1st Prizes for “Signifyin Woman” and “Sky Openings” Il Parnasso”  Canicatti, Sicily (2015, 2017). Louisa was a finalist for Nassau County Poet Laureate in 2013, and winner of the Taliesin Prize (Trinidad and Tobago). She was honored at Columbia Barnard as a Feminist Who Changed America (19763-75). A former teacher and Director of the Poet’s Piazza in Hofstra University for 12 years, Louisa was a founding member and first Executive Director of City Spirit Artists, Inc., in New Haven, Ct. Louisa has spent her life bringing the Arts to divergent communities. She lives in the USA and Jamaica, WI. Her latest book, Journey to the Heart Waters, was published by Legas Press in 2014.  

 

Nino Provenzano was born in Castellamare del Golfo, Sicily. He is Vice President of Arba Sicula, an international organization that promotes Sicilian culture in the world. Nino has recited his poems in various Universities in the United States, Canada and Italy. He has done translations from English to Sicilian for the movie MAC, directed by John Turturro, and did work for Spike Lee and the actor John Leguizamo in the movie Summer of Sam. Nino also trained the Emmy award winning actor Michael Badalucco for the movie The Man Who Wasn’t There by the Coen Brothers. Under the auspices of Arba Sicula, he has published a collection of his poems called Vinissi (I Would Love to Come). The book is bilingual, with the English translation by Gaetano Cipolla. The most recent book of his poems, Tornu (The Return), was published also by Arba Sicula and translated into English by Gaetano Cipolla. Provenzano has been acknowledged for his contribution to the Sicilian-American culture in Italy and the USA, most recently from the Italian American Federation of Greater New York. As recently as March 2013 Nino was awarded first place winner of the International Poetry Competition “Salvatore Quasi modo” for Sicilian Poetry, in the city of Messina, Italy. He is working on his third book of poetry with the English translation also by Gaetano Cipolla.

 

Elisabetta Marino is tenured Assistant Professor of English literature at the University of Rome “Tor Vergata.” She has published extensively on the English Romantic writers, on Italian-American literature, Asian-American, and Asian-British literature. She has written about and translated the works of Louisa Calio, among other Italian-American writers.

 

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