This poem was written a few days before Mamica’s last journey, on 24 March 2013, but I felt too sad to send it to her, so that she never knew about it … but now she does.


Mamica mia, don’t go away

i know this to be a vain prayer

i’m shouting in the desert

and my whole body shakes

with rage and denial

still my heart cries out:

if you go, the better of me

will go with you

and what will remain

hereunder will be torn

like a bleeding wound

that shall never close

ever since the world

was created, that has been the rule

we all have to accept it

but inside i can never accept it

i don’t want to, even if it is absurd,

does it mean that I shall feign

to be gone too, while my feet are

stuck to the ground and

my mind lingers in the netherworld?

how can i detach myself from my own being

without breaking up into a thousand pieces?

my eyes will look inwards while a whiff

of your perfume strokes me,

bringing back the clangs of joy and laughter

but also memories of pain and distress

my ears will also hear the distant echo of

a piano sonata played by you, Mamica,

– oh those fingers, light as butterflies! –

when we were children, so so very long ago,

when we lived in Central Africa, my cradle,

which is the cradle of humanity and

which never leaves me, wherever i have resided,

whether it was in America,

Italy, or France, and whether

I ply the oceans, discovering new lands.

Mamica, you have the beauty of the black continent,

the fragrance of frangipani flowers and the voice,

that cristalline voice that sings Schubert’s Ave Maria.

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