This is my version of Eugenio Montale's celebrated poem 'Meriggiare pallido e assorto' (original Italian here) , first written in 1916.
The date is significant. Though the poem appears as an anti-idyll, nature poem, it's actually permeated by the carnage of World War I.
Midday torpor, pale and vague
Beside the crumbling garden wall
Hear from the thickets and the thorns,
Snap of blackbird, scatter of snake.
Through cracks in the mud, in its wrinkles,
Marauding armies of red ants
Now breaking ranks, now interlinking
To fight over some insignificant mount.
Leaves quake as the sea below
Ripples its scales, and starts up
Cicadas shaking with rage
Screeching from arid escarpments.
Blinded where sun blazes
Shadowed by sad amazement
How our life and labours
Are followed like this path
By a wall of jagged glass.