Do not ask us the word which in every way
our shapeless soul perhaps measures, and in letters of fire
may declaim it and shine like a crocus
lost in the centre of a dusty field.
Ah! the man who goes away sure,
to others and to himself a friend,
and cares not about his shadow which the dog days
reflect across a plasterless wall!
Ask us not for the formula to open worlds for you,
only some syllable distorted and dry like a twig.
This alone is what we can tell you today,
that which we are not, that which we do not want.
(Eugenio Montale, Ossi di seppia)