Handbook for a New Year’s Eve Toast
Erri De Luca translated by Jim Hicks
I drink to the people on duty, on the train, in hospitals,
kitchens, hotels, on the radio, at the foundry,
at sea, on a plane, on the highway,
and to those who get past this night where no one calls,
I drink to the next moon, to the pregnant girl,
to people who make a promise, to the people who kept it,
to whoever paid the bill, to whoever is paying it now,
and to the people who weren’t invited anywhere,
to the foreigner who’s learning our language,
to the people who study music, to people who can tango,
to whoever stood and gave up their seat,
to those unable to stand, and to those who are blushing,
to the people who read Dickens, and to people who cry at movies,
to people who protect the forests, to people who put out fires,
to the people who’ve lost everything and then start over again,
to the teetotaler who lifts his glass with the rest,
and to you who are nothing to the person you love,
to people who are teased and one day will be heroes,
to people who forget insults, and to people who smile in photos,
to people who go on foot, to people who learn to go barefoot,
to people who give back, from that which they’ve received,
to people who don’t get jokes,
and to the final insult, hoping that it will in fact be final,
to tie games, to crosses on your soccer card,
to people who step out of line, breaking rank,
and to the people who’d like to but can’t,
and, at last, I drink to all the people
who have a right tonight to a toast
and who, in all of these, haven’t yet found their own.
from Erri De Luca, L’ospite incallito. Torino: Einaudi, 2008. 13-14.
Di nuovo a Mantova in settembre, tra cortili e piazze si celebra il capodanno dei libri.
Niente fuochi d’artificio ma incontri al pianoterra delle strade tra chi legge e chi scrive.
Da scrittore ricevo il piu’ bel premio letterario: la stretta di mano di chi ha amato una mia pagina.
Here I am, in Mantua again, where in September is the celebration of book’s New Year’s Eve.
No fireworks but meetings at the grounfloor of the streets between readers and writers.
As a writer I receive the best literary prize: a hand shake by a person who loved a page of mine.