Chagall

May 7, 2022 

Years ago, I translated poems and aphorisms to accompany the woodcuts of Mariaelisa Leboroni. Now, hunting for a gift for a friend, I come across one with what I can only call a poem by Marc Chagall and am struck by how relevant it is to what is happening today in the Ukraine and Russia. I trace the source and find it comes from a book on Chagall’s public statements on art and culture, although here the translation from the Italian is mine.


Perhaps the young and the not so young

will come to this House in search of

that ideal of brotherhood and love

my colors and my lines have dreamed of.

Perhaps, the words of the love I feel for all

will be uttered. Perhaps,

there will no longer be enemies,

and like a mother giving birth

with love and pain,

the young and the not so young

will build the world of love

with these new colors.

And everyone, whatever their religion,

can come and speak of this dream,

far from evil and upheaval.

2 thoughts on “Chagall

  1. Hello Erika. Still feeling ok in spite of my recent cancer diagnosis. Big surgery on June 13 which will put me out of commission for 5-6 weeks. Steve will keep friends and loved ones up to date. In the meantime, your posts are water in the desert.

    Love, M

    Sent from my iPhone

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  2. Erika

    This is definitely a poignant piece given the state of the world – although I’m not sure that the state of the world has ever been any different. We just create new ideas with which to bludgeon our enemies and invent ever more effective means of annihilation.

    Ukraine and another mass shooting of children in America.

    I certainly owe you a decent email —my only excuses—I haven’t been writing many. I’ve taken to shepherding my time carefully – which means that 80% of it is wasted as I’m just cruising through the day. Still on pandemic time.

    Things here are actually very good despite the gloomy tone above. And we finalized a place for Brett and Costanza and Vincenzo to stay, an Airbnb right near to our house. The tickets are purchased and they are coming for the month of August to Seattle. Piero will be staying in Italy as his father is quite ill and dying from prostate cancer. Pure of course will not leave him. And then there’s the damn firm to sell…

    We haven’t seen them in person since 2019 just before the pandemic. Who knew then what was about to come!

    I continue to be an hour of your blog output! I am in my own little world writing a few hours a day four days a week which is about how much writing consciousness I have. The CIDP is a real brain fogger. I’m reading more of Ishiguro. Such a deceptively fluid writer—your pleasantly swept away by his stories.

    I thought of you as I was walking in the park this evening through the cedar grove…

    Abbracci dear friend!

    J

    Sent from my iPhone

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