Luigi Fontanella

I Had a Cheerful and Gentle Dog
February 13, 2015 Fontanella Luigi

I Had a Cheerful and Gentle Dog


I had a cheerful and gentle dog.

At night, she rubbed her snout on my hand

as it lay wrapped over the arm of the sofa.

I caressed her a little, and, on my stopping,

her wet nose nudged my fingers. I would speak to her,

and she would answer me with her eyes. “Do you want to go out?”

All that was needed was this phrase to cause a sudden shiver

to shake her,

electrify her and shoot her toward the door.

I don’t know why you came into my mind. Perhaps

because a short while back I read a lovely poem by Krüger

where he talks of a dog, dumbfounded and dismayed.

Perhaps because tonight, like you,

I wait to hear a voice that says “Do you want to go out?”

and that accompanies me to the door.


(Translation into English by Emanuel di Pasquale, from the book by Luigi Fontanella Land of Time. Selected Poems 1972-2003, edited by Irene Marchegiani, Introduction by Dante Della Terza, New York: Chelsea Editions, 2006.)

Luigi Fontanella lives on Long Island, NY, and in Florence, Italy. Poet, novelist and literary critic, he teaches Italian at Stony Brook University, and has published numerous collections of poetry. His most recent books are Lo scialle rosso (selected long poems, Moretti & Vitali, 2017) and the novel Il dio di New York (Passigli, 2017). He is the editor of Gradiva.