Like the Calabrese

by Eloise Carbone

Photo by Eloise Carbone: Castello Normanno di Morano Calabro

Eloise Carbone lives in Vancouver BC. Her memoir poetry is inspired by her connection to her Italian heritage. Her maternal grandparents emigrated from a small village near Udine, Friuli Venezia Giulia, and her paternal grandparents emigrated from a small village near Cosenza, Calabria. Both arrived in Canada circa 1900.

In 2019, Eloise attended the first Italian Diaspora Studies Writing Seminar held over a two-week period in Calabria and Basilicata. The seminar was dedicated to Heritage and Memory and attended by participants of Italian heritage from around the world. Through writing, they researched the experiences of their own families who left Italy, and of the people who remained behind. The seminar included tours to Matera, Papasidero, Aliano, and Dino Island.

The seminar gave the participants the unique opportunity to dive deeply into their personal family history and into the history of Calabria. “The children of the diaspora” had returned to Italy to share in an emotional journey that certainly left a dramatic impact on their lives.

A bus ride through Pollino National Park was the inspiration for “Like the Calabrese”. Eloise’s poem parallels the grandeur of the Pollino mountains with the character of both the Calabrese and the Calabrese side of her family – their arrival at Ellis Island, their unending struggle against poverty, and the unjust internment of her Canadian-born father in WWII.

“Like the Calabrese” has been published in the IDS anthology Celebrating Calabria: Writing Heritage and Memory, edited by Margherita Ganeri and Maria Mazziotti Gillan, Rubettino Publishing House, 2020.

LIKE THE CALABRESE

The Pollino mountains

Stand rock upon rock,

Solid like the Calabrese.

Their canyon sides

Shine with streaks,

Gold like the Calabrese.

Their grandeur

Reflects bare strength,

Powerful like the Calabrese.

Their formations

Support side by side,

Protective like the Calabrese.

The mountains of Pollino

With peaks above the clouds,

Proud like the Calabrese.

COME I CALABRESI

Il Massiccio del Pollino

Sorge roccia su roccia,

Solido come i Calabresi.

I lati delle montagne

Sfavillano di riflessi,

Dorati come i Calabresi.

La loro imponenza

Riflette forza innata,

Come i Calabresi.

Le formazioni

Si sostengono luna con laltra,

Protettive come i Calabresi.

Il Massiccio del Pollino,

Picchi che svettano sopra le nuvole,

Orgogliosi come i Calabresi.

(Traduzione di Anna Foschi Ciampolini)

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Derryck
Derryck
10 months ago

Got it. Very nice. Both the picture and the poem

Lara
Lara
10 months ago

I can hear your voice as I read it. I’m happy you’re mining this talent!

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