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Learning Italian and a poem

I'm attending Italian lessons again after so many years. Back then, I only studied with books. Now I'm surrounded by connectivy and possibilities I have explored for my own students of English, yet not so much for my own informal learning support outside the class.

So I've done my little online research and collected my resources on a wiki. Today I felt the need to go more social about it. I came across a couple of groups in Facebook that surprised me for their content, participation and creativity. Yeah, it seems Facebook can do good!

The group Impariamo Italiano gives you a variety of prompts to practice. From pictures of Italy where you must guess and post answers (in Italian of course) to questions (using a Facebook app) to choose the right grammar of a sentence. They even answer you in a personal way in the comments. A very interesting model of how to use Facebook for staying in touch with the language in an environment where everybody is real and a learner.

This prompt caught my attention, translated into English, it says,

Write a brief story including these five words: Night, do, tomorrow, kiss and sea.

It caught my eye because I remember having to do exercises of the kind in English exams. As a student, I disliked being forced to use exactly those set words. But now something changed. Out of the +21,000 fans of the page, a few folks got inspired and wrote stories.

Here's my favourite by Antonio Buffon,

"Era NOTTE alta e DOMANI poteva essere l'ultimo giorno. Non avevamo nulla da FARE, se non aspettare il momento migliore per attaccare. Uno sguardo al MARE e un BACIO alla lettera dell'amata..."

It was high night and tomorrow could be the last day. We didn't have anything to do, except wait for the best moment to attack. A look at the sea and a kiss to the letter for his beloved...

Wow. Isn't that beautiful enough for a quick post on Facebook?

I always wonder what it is that makes people participate guided by prompts that grow communities around them. I don't know. I do know what gets me inspired and writing. People like this being engaged and sharing openly without expectation of an answer. I like that.

I joined the group. Now it's my turn to try. Only my take is a
poem, not a short story. My first poem in Italian. Who would have thought it possible at level one? Hope the grammar is acceptable.

La notte è arrivata.
Niente da fare; allora il pensiero
diventa un mare
che mi fa ricordare
un'immagine di due pescatori.
Lascio un bacio al cielo
e dico il tuo nome.
Seguo a caminare.
Un giorno qualsiasi ti rincontrerò.
Per questo domani è la parola più bella.


Night is here.
Nothing to do, then my thoughts
Become the sea
That brings to mind an image
Of two fishermen.
I blow a kiss to heaven
While I say your name.
I walk on.
One day -any day- I'll find you.
That's why tomorrow is the most beautiful word.

The image in my poem is a memory of my brother and father fishing in a pier in Mar del Plata on a cloudy day. I woke up much later that day and decided to do a long walk by the sea to go and meet them. I arrived in the afternoon. The colours and the stones in Gennaroeaz' photo, though taken in Italy, come quite close to my recall of those holidays.

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