The Sunday Scribblings prompt is "Regrets".A long while ago, in preparation for a summer to be spent in Trieste, I audited a class in Italian. Actually I audited two semesters of it and felt that I was becoming at least slightly fluent in that language which resembled the Portuguese with which I was familiar. My teacher (a grad student) came to class one day looking downhearted. Each of her fellow Italian instructors (all grad students) had bragged to her that at least one student in each of their classes had brought to them an original poem in Italian. But no one had ever written one for her. As she let us know.
A short time before that, I had entered a local competition to design a mural for the front of The Nature Company. My design of frolicking forest animals won first prize. It wasn't the honor of winning that had encouraged me to enter. Rather, it was that the first prize was a fantastic kite with a revolutionary design. It was worth $125 (probably double that in today's dollars). When I went to collect it and the prize awarders saw my gray hair (not quite white yet), they offered to give me, instead, a pair of binoculars. I refused indignantly. I had won that kite, and that kite was the only thing I would accept as prize.
I wrote a poem in Italian and took to my instructor. It is based on our experiences with the above-cited kite. Here it is - the only poem I ever wrote in Italian:
Noi due fuori con il nostro caneMy instructor was not only pleased, she bragged to everyone in sight the one of HER students had written a poem for her.
Nel sole e venti della primavera,
Farfalladi carta nelle nostra mani
Cielo pui chiano di quel che non mai era.
Venti vivaci tiravano il filo.
Ci sentivano giovni e belli.
Ridente, corremos miglio dopd miglio:
Spaventammo conigli ed uccelli.
Con ansia le persone hanno visto
Le nostre rughe, i grigi capelli,
Con le piroette uno strano misto.
Come potrebbero belli?
Non importava a noi poverini,
Non avavamo con noi nullo specchio.
Il cane ci percepiva bambini
Anche il nostro cane era vecchio.
I had learned enough Italian to not only survive that summer in Trieste, but to carry on reasonably complex conversations with the other attendees at the conference in which Otto was taking part.
What, then, are my regrets? The more important one is that I let my knowledge of Italian lapse until all of it has trickled out. I can excuse it, since at that time I was translating Jorge de Sena's Portuguese poems, and concentration on one language seemed to drive the other out. But my Italian is gone! My title is NOT rhetorical. What does my poem say? I know it's about flying a kite. But what do the individual words mean?
The second regret is that I have lost that beautiful kite. Where could it be hiding among the multitude of objects in this large house?