Calabria, Italy and its Genealogy, History, Culture and Language

U Pane [The Bread]

A The staple of sustenance for many in the days gone by.



...e sientu ancora mo' l'adduru anticu
ca saglie per e scale d'intru u vicu
quannu u pane ni purtava a furnara
na sporta de fatiga duce e amara.

Aprie papa' e menzine du purtune
e pue aiutava a fimmina a si spune;
chi cavudu a na vota dintra a casa:
tuccavi a cuntentizza ad ogne rasa.

C'eranu pitte, tortani e aru siettu
i pani jianchi e ncunu de bruniettu,
fatti de granza e quasi senza sale
ca i moderni mo' chiamanu "integrale."

Chiru jiournu ere mamma senz'affani,
a vijiu puru mo' doppu tant'anni
mancu u friddu de jiennaru a fa spagnare:
c'ere u pane, putie puru jiazzare!

Pane, de tante sire unicu vittu,
ccu ru signu da cruce benedittu
ti viju supra a tavula ca ridia,
ti viju dintra l'uocchi de mamma mia!
...I smell them still, the ancient scents
which rises up the stairway from the lane
when the baker woman would bring us bread in a basket
made sweet and sour by her labor.

Pappa would open the side of the doorway
and would then help the woman lay it down;
What warmth, all at once in the house:
touching with contentment every corner.

There were pita, twisted loaves and at the base,
white breads and some where browned
made of hard grains and almost without salt
that the moderns call "Pane Integrale"

That day, was mother without exertion,
I see her still after so many years
not even the cold of January frightens her:
There was bread, let it snow!

Bread, many nights our only food,
blessed, with the sign of the Cross
I see you  on the table smiling,
I see you in my mother's eyes!
Submitted by Guy Filippelli and translated by Dr. Tom Lucente