Fulvio De Marinis: "Il Tempo della Sibilla"
Oil, gold and
Cuman sand on canvas su tela, 40x100 cm.
is a link to the Napoli Underound
website where you
will find a gallery of other works by the
They call me by many names,
but to you who hear my shadowed words
I am Demò, she who loves her people.
Crazed, twisted, forever aged, but not chaste,
not since I bore to light in the Beginning
the Reaper Time with his serpent tooth.*1
Since then I live forgotten and alone
amidst the spired maze,
my only roof the frozen stars.
I tell my story, not for pity,
but to warn you not to trust
who does not know the bane of Age.
Long ago, I danced in other worlds
before men died in endless siege for woman.
There the god who loosens knots
chose to loose my heart.
A handful of dust and haughty youth
both condemned me.
I left my red island forever*2
and forgot my days of joy.
Ever weary I dragged my exiled body
through swamp, thick wood, bottomless deep and
Too soon the shadows overtook my steps,
too soon he who said he loved me
now in bother turned away his glance.
I know your fate, but those horrid spasms
that besiege my black breast
are not the divine winds that move my words,
for now within me sadly dwells just Sickness.
I await the last grain of sand,
await my ancient lover's dart to free me.
Then you shall find me in a green stalk of
in a tiny rooting beast,
in the white face of the Moon.
"...not since I
bore...tooth." This is a very dense
line. If you enjoy working these things out
for yourself, STOP READING HERE! In
pre-Patriarchal religions, goddesses were
immortal and beyond or outside of time. The
poet's vision is that the Sibyl was one of
these and that she, in fact, (in the
original Italian)...in un preciso
momento, diedi alla luce Tempo-che-passa
dal dente ricurvo... that is, at the
beginning of time gave birth to Chronos, the
Greek god and personification of time,
Time-That-Passes (Saturn to the Romans).
There are two later images here that are
really the same: Father Time and the Grim
Reaper, both of whom wield a harvesting
scythe, described by Virgil (book 4 of The
Georgics) as the "tooth that turns
inward," familiar in English as the serpent
tooth or serpent's tooth.
"...I left my red island forever"
(separate note at this link)