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If they have compared you...

If they have compared you
to the fox it’s for the prodigious
leap, for the scud of your feet
which unite and divide, which scuff
and freshen the gravel (your balcony,
the streets near the Cottolengo, the field,
the tree on which shivers my name,
happy, humble, and defeated)—or perhaps only
for the luminous wave which you shed
from your tender almond eyes,
for your quick astute amazements,
for the hurt
of torn feathers which your childlike hand
can give with one clasp;
if they have compared you
to a yellow carnivore, to the treacherous genius
of the undergrowth (and why not to the unclean
torpedo fish which jolts with a shock?)
it is perhaps because the blind did not see
the wings on your fine shoulder-blades,
because the blind did not unravel the omen
on your incandescent brow, the groove
which I have scratched there in blood, cross chrism
seduction jetsam promise goodbye
perdition and salvation; if they did not know
how to believe you more than weasel or woman,
with whom can I share my finding,
where shall I hide the gold I carry,
where the live coal which shrieks in me when
departing, you turn on the stairs?

(Eugenio Montale, La bufera;
Madrigali privati
Translated from the Italian by Alan Marshfield)