Dialogue of the Lovers

(excerpts translated with Barbara Moroncini's help)

Poems by piero scaruffi

TM, ®, Copyright © 1998-2015 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.

Poem in three parts:
  1. Alef: 35 Cantos
  2. Apeiron: 35 Cantos
  3. Nil: 35 Cantos
This page contains a selection of the cantos. Click here to download the first 27 cantos of the first part.


  • 'm' : man
  • 'f' : woman
  • ' ': ?

Note on reading:  The poem is not to be read by starting from the first canto, but from a canto of your choice.

(Evidence): "La eternidad es solo lo que sigue, lo igual; y comunica por armonia y luz con lo terreno" Juan Ramon Jimenez

"de mes enfers pensifs les confins sans espoir" Paul Valery

"So leben wir und nehmen immer Abschied" Rainer Maria Rilke

"They hand in hand with wandring steps and slow through Eden took thir solitarie way" John Milton

"were all like workings of one mind the features of the same face ... characters of the great Apocalypse" William Wordsworth

"Do you not also observe that mountains distant from the observer appear to be black, while being in themselves other than the color seen? The cause is only the distance..." Ibn al-'Arabi

First Part: Alef


f:      Since centuries I forge ahead

        in this wind,

        lifted by a distant past,

        that conforms to the glistening creases

        of my sullen, weathered cape. 

        In the snail of glowworms

        of the imminent dusk

        the cities I visited

        crowd up buzzing

        around my footsteps

        like flies on the carcass

        of a disemboweled cub.


        A wonderer lost in time

        will lead me to the imaginary place                         

        towards which I am walking.

        And memory, recoiling

        into a crystal dolmen,

        prostrate within the firs’

        emaciated fronds turned like pages

        by an old woman’s timorous hands,

        has no other destination

        than that void of meaning.

        Being here is terrible.


It is impossible to go

any further.


The tracks funnel organic matter

from one sundial to the other



All around the crater

in the gravel of the cosmic debris,

in the blinding mist

of their alien reflections,

a gallop between sun and stone

jolts, behemoth,

the foundations of time.


f:      At the center of the sundial

        I hold in my fingers

        your hourglass lips

        and inflate the balloon

        flaccid of your face

        until it soars in the air

        and without thrusting a cry

        flutters inert in the wind.


        It bounces on the solar sand,

        it shatters, banner of mortals

        in the tragic duel,

        thrusting a shout

        that sends rolling

        breathless circles of water

        over my eye’s fragmented shell.


        Your gaze

        cries golden islands

        along the uncharted trail

        of our bodies.


m:      I undress you,

        petal by petal,

        in the dim light of an ice torch

        that melts your eyes,

        bluer than mine;

        floating, on the swamp

        of kiss-quilted skin,

        on the tender flesh of the oyster.


f:      I turn my eye up,

        and affix it to the storm

        of our shadows

        on the vault of the globe,

        faint streaks of stars

        for crystal crepuscules,

        plummeting over a mirror of bubbles.


m:      I curl up     

        inside the palm of your hand,

        in a cut of the crevasse

        where foam roars fertile

        of you, and scream until breathless

        your sharpened nails.


f:      Now your stem, crippled, cries

        warm dew; and with your lifted finger

        you point to our motionless shadows,

        coiled up on the chandelier.


m:      Tightening the trigger,

        twisting the elastic bend around the pin

        to charge up my hell,

        killing with a sperm bullet.


:       Obscene bodies of solitude

        clinging to the umbilical chord      

        of desire

        (murky metaphysical animal),

        bodies desecrated by thought,

        injected with mystic shivers.


m:      Falling in the trap

        ravaged by jaws.


:       Look for a wing, a stone,

        a strip of sun from which to talk to me,

        without shame, with the tip of your gaze

        until from the edge of our coitus shoots



f:      Dive your arms in the air,


m:      We never end


f:      opaque plates of pain,


m:      of falling


f:      mute stones of death.


m:      in the abyss.




Second Part: Apeiron


m:      Do you remember

        the hooked beak of that crest

        steep above reefs of ruby;

        the twin silences of that night,

        two drops of blood on a stroll

        through the veins of the medieval borough?

        and the rocks thrown in the clot

        of waves from the emptied beach;

        the quartz swans that we dissolved

        feather by feather in the lake;

        the vortex of creeping antennas

        on the roofs, which we felt vibrate

        in tune with us and the sunset;

        the blossoms of homes clinging

        to the barren wrinkles of the cliffs?

        us, wanderers in the atlas

        which life leafs through

        and highlights.


A hurricane of stars

on this crystal night

orbits furiously over the steep

tortuous and narrow alleys,

crushed by the stone walls

of churches and palaces that centuries

of names could not change.


The crowd chattering in the promenade

fulfills the most sacred of rituals

pawning itself to the eternity

of silences, detritus to which

the bedlam of the stroll gives

a demented and ferocious voice.


Unbeknownst to all, a wave

underneath the porches and inside the decrepit

doorways advances and swells,

like a ghost with the same accent

brandishing its claws everywhere:

the swarming footprint of spirals,

in an eclipse of ashes and bells,

from the nefarious storm above.


f:      I am afraid of flying,

        shivers of fakir

        jolt me: I tighten

        the band over my eyes.


:       But the miracles that fill

        the square, shavings of sun...


f:      the crowd a giant

        mocking me without shame,


:       idols of stone, beggars,

        fossil icons, in concentric

        spheres of ivory...


f:      Your face shines

        on a tinfoil leaf,

        and the magic words

        you pronounce for me

        escort my dreams

        in that sea of sparkles.


:       Picking a flower of ash

        from the stake: s/he loves me, s/he loves me not...


f:      In your eyes I read

        a poem that will last

        for the rest of my life.


:       backwards in time, alcove,

        cavern, ravine of lava.


f:      Holding your hand

        I will resume my journey

        from where I had suspended it;

        and I will fly.


:       The ocean, in all its

        spectral inutility, sends

        skeletons of algae and cyclops

        wrecked on the reef

        (in the transparent sheath

        our compass continues

        its clock-like motion).


m:      To catch the radiant clouds

        hanging like ripe clusters

        or like sharp cirrus from the sky.


:       The distance smeared with blood,

        of drunken and frenzied seagulls

        that fumble fan-like.

        They dig where they have hidden,

        extract emptiness from the air,

        throw memories out in space.

        The flight grazes the wave

        in the many nameless dwellings

        of their eternal childhood.


m:      Pebbles make mute circles

        in the blinded water.

        The gaze catches them fitfully

        at the bottom of gravel of sun,

        of putrid tangles of root.


:       The footprints on the beach stop

        in front of the gate that did not open.


m:      I turn the winch of the anchor

        under the upturned sail.


:       In order to decide the route?


We have no news yet

of the site where we have not

by chance arrived, harbor

or limit who knows, perhaps

just a transfer stop between

one shore and the other,

from one isle to the other

(on this side it’s ash

not sand the coastline

and spaces without borders

searching without finding

places with no name).


m:      Exhausted by the pure sun of the hills,

        this journey in the transparent obscurity

        halts on the threshold of the city.


f:      My fate in a different manner will speak

        to the dusty toy

        of worn out snake skin

        which, bearing my name and face,

        already thinks of sailing away

        like a star at sunset.


:       I freed myself

        from the tangle of inert arms

        which exploited my body

        for their macabre rites.

        Now, in the cold shroud

        of this last darkness,

        just like the deep beat

        of the heart, overflowing

        with endless ripples,

        runs on tinfoil waves

        towards the free shore,

        louder thump

        in the silence the distant steps,

        inexistent, on abandoned paths.

Third Part: Nil


m :     There is something important,

        on which my future depends,

        that I should tell you, but, I know,

        I will not find the courage

        to tell you.

        There: I told you.


f :     Then you know where to find me,

        or anyway how to find me,

        or at least if to find me,

        if to run away from me or shun me,

        in that labyrinth of “ifs”

        in which you all got lost.


m:      My secret song to you

        a musical staff of kisses.


f:      I heard beating in my heart

        the rhythm of your voice.


m:      The diamond

        that will remain to swim

        in the orchid lakes

        of your eyes.


f:      That evening

        you took my hand,

        and you’ve never

        let it go.


m:      Inside your eyes

        how my thoughts poured!

        on your lips,

        how crumbled the sand

        of my reason!


The barbwire of lights

surrounding the bay

ties the waves and the reefs

into a pact of secrecy,

a torture of reflexes and debris

that the enormous seaweed of clouds

propels towards the ocean.


f:      Isn’t life perhaps that which happens

        behind our back unbeknownst to us

        while we attempt to distance ourselves.

m:      Or perhaps the distancing itself?


:       Even in the ending

        the beginning goes on.


f:      Oh crumb of universe

        mirroring yourself

        in the annihalated blue

        of my eyes,

        each splinter that

        you try to save

        could finish you.


m :     One thing we have understood

        in the tears that we have

        dried on each other with kisses

        of cotton candy on cheeks

        red with joy and shame:

        that most important is the cry

        that we have not yet cried!



 f :    There is no page in me

        that has not already

        been written by you.


m:      Each of these tears

        is another bit of you

        that penetrates me.


:       You fell asleep

        inside a word.


m:      (Eternity is transparent:

        on the other side I see neither memory

        nor time).


f:      No other places to go



m:      (I shiver, alone, at the void)


m:      You are

        this poem,

        and you are about

        to end.


f:      And your gaze

        which guided me

        towards the sun

        like a flight of seagulls,

        now I lose it,

        I feel forever,

        in a wind of light,

        violent and blinding.

        not lighthouse but mirror;

        in a spot inside you

        that I can’t see, but I sense,

        a black hole in which I plunge

        without even having the strength

        to see it reflected or magnified,

        but only capsized and faded;

        as if I lived inside binoculars,

        between one lens and the other,

        between two identical tears.  


m:      From you

        I did not have

        even the time of a smile;

        yet it was enough to understand

        how far I still have to walk,

        how far is what I am looking for,

        and how hidden from all the rest;

        how alive I am.


f:      And finally

        you take me by the hand,

        along the faintest of sunrays,

        because this was perhaps

        our destiny,

        to walk

        where nobody else

        would even see

        the path.

Click here to download the first 27 cantos of the first part.

Original Italian text

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