Oggi la gente saluta e va lontano.
Già povera, la terra s’immiserisce.
Oggi la gente parte e va lontano.
Restano una sposa e due vecchi
e tre bambini murati fra i ricordi.
Partì Giovanni ch’era di maggio. A Marcinelle.
“Belgio hai bisogno degli uomini nostri!”.
E noi del tuo denaro, chiuso nella busta
rossa che la madre bacia. Ha odor cattivo
ma per lei vale fragranza di pane.
A Marcinelle a X a Y a Z.
Nomi che spesso cominciano
con strane consonanti e finiscono
con risonante inconsuete.
Vanno gli operai nelle grige tute
discendono nel grembo della terra.
Scavano scavano odierni schiavi.
Scavano scavano odierni eroi.
La perforatrice canta come una lancia d’argento.
E il cuore piange e ride al ritmo di quel canto.
“Belgio hai bisogno degli uomini nostri!”
E noi del tuo denaro.
Ieri dormivo, non era il turno mio.
Urlò la sirena.
Corsi con gli altri.
Era venuto Giovanni, chiamato da me,
ch’era di maggio
Giovanni è un nome che non ha senso.
I morti non hanno bisogno del nome.
Today people greet each other then go far away.
Already poor, the earth grows even poorer.
Today people leave and go far away.
A bride and two old men remain
And three children walled in amongst the memories.
Leave Giovanni, you were born in May. To Marcinelle.
“Belgium you need our men!”.
And we need your money, closed in a red envelope
That the mother kisses. It has a bad smell
But for her it is like the fragrance of fresh bread.
At Marcinelle at X at Y at Z.
Names that often begin
With strange consonants and end
With unusual resonances.
The workers go in their grey uniforms
They descend into the bowels of the earth.
They dig and they dig these daily slaves.
They dig and they dig these daily heroes.
The drill sings like a silver spear.
And the heart cries and laughs to the rhythm of that song.
“Belgium you need our men!"
And we need your money.
Yesterday I was sleeping, it was not my shift.
The siren screamed.
I ran with the others.
Giovanni had come, called by me,
For he was born in May
Giovanni is a name that doesn’t make any sense.
The dead don’t need to have a name.
 Marcinelle – a coal
mining town in Belgium. After WW2 many Italians emigrated to Belgium to
work in the coal mines under a pact to rebuild Europe, whereby the men
earned money and in return for their work coal was sent to Italy. In
this way 38 young men left Torricella for Marcinelle in 1946.
On 8 August 1956, there was a mining tragedy in Marcinelle, which caused
262 deaths of which 136 were Italians, 61 from Abruzzo. Silvio di Luzio,
an ex-partisan war hero, from Torricella was again a hero, saved the
lives of 3 fellow miners and received various medals for his bravery.
In February 2003, following its conversion into the Museum of Industry,
the site of the former Bois du Cazier colliery in Marcinelle, Belgium,
was reopened – it had been closed since 1967.
 Orange-Red envelopes – were commonly used in Italy