Siren's Song

by Rinaldo Caddeo

translated by Adria Bernardi

Cover art © by Salvatore Carbone






Siren’s Song: Poetry and Prose. Translation of Rinaldo Caddeo’s selected works, La lingua del camaleonte (Manni Editore, 2002), Narciso (Forum/ Quinta Generazione, 1989), Calendario di sabbia (NCE, 1997), and I mostri. Poems and prose poems that range from the Sphinx and Cleopatra to a street in Milan, from dust to black cats, from the Archaeopteryx to the Siren's Song, written with grace and wit.

"This is an articulate reflection upon the theme of form: I'm thinking about works such as Pompeii or Hiroshima, all playing with the idea of shade and calque, but also about the mournful couplets of Lightning, within the landscape of night, wild animals, fever."
– Valerio Magrelli

RINALDO CADDEO was born in 1952 in Milan, where he resides and teaches in a technical institute. He has published four collections of poetry (Le fionde del gioco e del vuoto, Narciso, Calendario di sabbia, Dialogo con l'ombra), one collection of short-short stories (La lingua del camaleonte), and one of aphorisms (Etimologia del caos). Piccola Biblioeca di Odissea has published his short story Apocalisse 2009.   His prizes for poetry are "Romagna" for Narciso in 1989, and "Delta Poesia" for Calendario di sabbia in 1998. He is author of critical essays, book reviews, short stories, aphorisms, translations and poetry published in numerous literary magazines. He is an associate editor of the biannual La mosca di Milano.

Siren's Song: Selected Poetry and Prose 1989-2009 are selected from La lingua del camaleonte (Manni Editore, 2002), Narciso (Forum/ Quinta Generazione, 1989), Calendario di sabbia (NCE, 1997), and I mostri.


from Siren's Song

from La lingua del camaleonte /
The Chameleon's Tongue (2002)

Continuo a smarrire. Perdo almeno una cosa al giorno, anche di più. Ieri l'altro ho perso un golf. II mio golf rosso, puf, sparito nel nulla. Tutto perché ci continuo a pensare. L'ho cercato per ore. Niente da fare. Continuo a pensare a quel gatto nero. Ieri ho perso Ie chiavi di casa, forse per strada. Meno male che ne ho un' altra copia. Sono tornato sui miei passi, niente da fare. Non riesco a levarmelo dalla testa. E cosi ho smarrito penne, ombrelli, guanti, giacche, portafogli ... Tutto é cominciato quella volta: un gatto nero mi ha attraversato la strada. Ero in campagna, su di una strada sterrata lungo un fosso. Era l'inizio della sera. Ho rischiato di uscire fuori strada, di capottarmi. C'era ancora poco buio. In un secondo é apparso, in un secondo é scomparso. E' guizzato come lo schizzo impazzito di un' onda invisibile, scivolando silenzioso, furtivo e oscuro suI bianco della polvere secca, senza lasciare traccia.

I continue to misplace stuff. Lose at least one thing a day, even more. The day before yesterday I lost a pullover. My red pullover, poof, vanished into nothing. All because I'm still thinking about it. I searched hours. No go. I keep thinking about that black cat. Yesterday I lost the house keys, maybe on the street. Good thing I have another set. I retraced my steps. No go. I cannot get it out of my head. This is the same way I misplaced pens, umbrellas, jackets, wallets ... It all started up with one incident: a black cat crossed in front of me. I was in the country, walking on a dirt road that ran alongside a ditch. It was twilight. I tried to get out of its path, to go back the other direction. It wasn't that dark yet. One second it was there, the next second it was gone. It darted, like the frenetic splash of an invisible wave that then silently folds over, hidden, secretive, leaving no trace whatsoever on dry, white sand.



they'll ask questions
without hesitating

they want answers
they don't listen to

they're like wind tunnels
ropes swinging inside the infinite pit

they have beaks
rapid-fire no ceasefire

if you turn
they aren't there

they're behind you



faranno domande
da non esitare

risposte vogliono
da non ascoltare

come gole del vento
corde scosse di vuoto

hanno becchi
senza tregua

se ti volti
non ci sono

sono dietro



from Narciso / Narcissus                              ChelseaEditions
Translated by Adria Bernardi
Artwork by Salvatore Carbone



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