Fabrizio de André

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Un matto

A Madman


Un matto (dietro ogni scemo c'è un villaggio)

Tu prova ad avere un mondo nel cuore
e non riesci ad esprimerlo con le parole,
e la luce del giorno si divide la piazza
tra un villaggio che ride e te, lo scemo, che passa,
e neppure la notte ti lascia da solo:
gli altri sognan se stessi e tu sogni di loro.

E sì, anche tu andresti a cercare
le parole sicure per farti ascoltare:
per stupire mezz'ora basta un libro di storia,
io cercai di imparare la Treccani a memoria,
e dopo 'maiale', 'Majakowsky', 'malfatto',
continuarono gli altri fino a leggermi 'matto'.

E senza sapere a chi dovessi la vita
in un manicomio io l'ho restituita:
qui sulla collina dormo malvolentieri
eppure c'è luce ormai nei miei pensieri,
qui nella penombra ora invento parole
ma rimpiango una luce, la luce del sole.

Le mie ossa regalano ancora alla vita:
le regalano ancora erba fiorita.
Ma la vita è rimasta nelle voci in sordina
di chi ha perso lo scemo e lo piange in collina;
di chi ancora bisbiglia con la stessa ironia
"Una morte pietosa lo strappò alla pazzia".


A Madman (behind every madman there is a village)

You try to have a world in your heart
and can not express it with words,
and the light of the day divides the square
between a village laughing and you, you idiot, that passes by,
and not even the night leaves you alone:
the others dream themselves and you dream of them.

And yes, even you would go to search
the safe words to let them hear you:
half an hour is just needed to impress a history book,
I tried to learn the Treccani from memory,
and after 'pig', 'Mayakovsky', 'misdeed',
others continued to read me 'madman'.

And without knowing who I should thank for my life
in a mental hospital I have returned it:
I sleep here on the hill reluctantly
yet now there is light in my thoughts,
here in the twilight hour I invent words
but regret a light, the light of the sun.

My bones still give to life:
still give her the flowery grass.
But life has remained in the words on the sly
of those who have lost the idiot and is crying for him on the hill;
of those who still whisper with the same irony
"A merciful death tore him from madness."

Spoon River Anthology (1915) - Edgar Lee Masters (1869-1950).

Translation into Italian by Fernanda Pivano

Frank Drummer

Out of a cell into this darkened space--
The end at twenty-five!
My tongue could not speak what stirred within me,
And the village thought me a fool.
Yet at the start there was a clear vision,
A high and urgent purpose in my soul
Which drove me on trying to memorize
The Encyclopedia Britannica!

Frank Drummer

Da una cella a questo luogo oscuro -
la morte a venticinque anni!
La mia lingua non poteva esprimere ciò che mi si agitava dentro,
e il villaggio mi prese per scemo.
Eppure all'inizio c'era una visione chiara,
un proposito alto e pressante, nella mia anima,
che mi spinse a cercar d'imparare a memoria
l'Enciclopedia Britannica!

Comments by prof. Montesarchio translation by: Enrico Massetti

Non al denaro non all'amore né al cielo (Not to Money, Not to Love, Nor to Heaven) is an album released by Fabrizio De André. It was issued in 1971. It is a concept album based on the Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters. The co-author of the music is composer Nicola Piovani, who later won an Academy award for his soundtrack for Roberto Benigni's Life is beautiful. The title itself is a citation from the first poem in the Spoon River Anthology, The Hill:

Drinking, rioting, thinking neither of wife nor kin,
Nor gold, nor love, nor heaven?

The text of " A crazy " talks about the discomfort of those who bring such a label in front of the community , and describes , with a few verses but be careful , the comparison of a man "crazy" against the "normal / healthy " world. It communicates to us the loneliness of being held up in the square , and it affects the way in which de Andrè can identify with this man. The story is permeated by the fragility and sadness of not being recognized , but rather mocked. It is thus embraced a different point of view , that has never been taken into account by the other because it was considered foolish : no sanity ( what it means , then this still is not clear at all!) , Perhaps devoid of feelings, and certainly strippable of their rights. This is enough to society to lock the madman in an asylum , and there leave him, forget it until his death . And not even death itself gives man the serenity and the defense from being laughed at by a hypocritical phrase " A merciful death tore him from madness ."

The song contains a strong social content . The message in this sense is thrown with force , and is one of the social struggles of the seventies in Italy: the closure of psychiatric asylums . The position of de Andrè seems nowadays that more legitimate, but it definitely should not have been a thought shared by all, if one takes into account that the song was written seven years before the onset of the Dr. Basaglia law that closed the psychiatric asylums.

But the point of view that I find most interesting to consider is that of a single "madman" nor that of the social context in which the song is written , but the frame of the text: the Piazza .

It is in the population, "healthy" that forms the common idea that man is crazy, with all the implications . Thus there is building a very strong meaning that is related to this word, so strong as to justify the subsequent behavior . This is the culture, it is inherent in the normal statistic ( the majority) .

The Village of the reason , it seems to me , in his discrimination reveals a concept that is all contained in the subtitle of the song ( and in my opinion, all this does not seem to get away from the key concepts of building semantics of socio- constructivist paradigm proposed in the classroom ! ) .

Behind Every Dumb There Is A Village

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