In the pocket of poets

Publish date 12-05-2024

by Matteo Spicuglia

A melee with the word. For that one word that is born within and allows you to give a name to life and things. The poet doesn't know how to do anything else. Until the end, even when he is stripped of everything. So in every place, in every time.

Daniel Varujan was one of the greatest Armenian poets. He also ended up in the vortex of the 1915 genocide, stabbed to death at just 31 years old. Maybe he had understood everything when they came to arrest him. There wasn't space or time to save much, but his treasure did. His clothes also ended up in a warehouse of goods seized from the Armenians. No one would have imagined finding The Song of Bread in his pocket, his masterpiece thought to be lost, yet kept as the most precious thing.

The years pass, the eras change, but the poets don't. It's as if they were passing the baton to each other. A century later, the tragedies of migrants crossing the Mediterranean.

There is also Tesfalidet Tesfom on one of those boats. He is 23 years old, he left Eritrea, imprisoned in Bani Walid, one of the most ruthless detention camps in Libya. He is saved adrift by an Open Arms ship, the first to disembark at the port of Pozzallo. He is very ill, he can almost walk, he weighs just 30 kilos, a lung punctured by tuberculosis. He will die the day after admission to hospital.
Tesfalidet had nothing with him, but he too kept a treasure: two folded sheets in a worn wallet, his poems.

Today Tesfalidet rests in a corner of the ground in the Modica cemetery. Daniel on the other hand, who knows where. But it's as if they never left. Their words are stones, stronger than everything. Even of death.

Matteo Spicuglia
NP April 2024

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