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Eugenio Montale – Mostly vendettas

October 16, 2014

History administers
neither kind words nor whippings.
History is no teacher
of anything that concerns us.
Awareness of this doesn’t make it
more true, more just …

So history is not
the destructive steam shovel it’s said to be,
leaving tunnels, crypts, manholes,
hiding-places behind. Some survive it.
History is benevolent too, destroying
what it can: better of course
if more were destroyed, but history is short
on information and long on vendettas.

(from ‘History,’ in Satura, translation by William Arrowsmith)


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