A Song for Guardia

Sometimes music is the best way to express a feeling– such is the case with the song “Uardia mia bella” (“My Beautiful Guardia”) by Emanuela Sica, which pays homage to the town of Guardia Lombardi by recounting how it came to have two patron saints and encouraging people to remember their roots.

Guardia Lombardi (AV)

This song was part of a project by La Casa della Poesia of Monza, located in the Region of Lombardia. The director of the Casa della Poesia, Antonetta Carrabs, who is also of Irpinian origin, started a project in conjunction with Italy’s national literary parks, where all poets in Italy who wished could write a poem in their hometown’s dialect and create a video to be shared throughout Italy with the hashtag, #ladedicoate (“I dedicate it to you”).

“I decided to join in the project and was inspired by a song for my poem,” Sica explained. “But when I was thinking about it, a melody kept popping into my head and I decided to transform my song into a poem. When I sent my audio draft in, they were so enthusiastic about it that they published it on the national channel for all of Italy’s literary parks.”

Italy celebrates its literary parks as a place where historic and cultural heritage can be celebrated by events and guided tours. The first parks popped up in 1992 and have been growing ever since. Italy 26 designated parks, including one in honor of Francesco De Sanctis in Morra De Sanctis (AV). The region with the largest concentration of literary parks is Basilicata. A full map is available at this link.

For Sica, celebrating Guardia in such a distinct way was more than just the act of creation– to her, this song represents a distinct tie to one’s homeland that goes beyond the concept of campanilismo, or love for one’s native town, as it showcases how “home” never truly leaves one’s mind.

“For me, Guardia is a father or a mother that you love no matter what– it’s that tie of love that is our very essence as human beings,” she said. “This love is authentic love, with concrete feelings that don’t change over time.”

“There’s an ancestral tie that goes back to the very beginning,” she continued. “You don’r realize it, but it is there. I think it can be said that in Irpinians, it even goes back to that proud lineage we have here– as the wolves that roam our area are so tied to the land.”

The translation in English and Italian, as well as the original Guardiese version, of “Uardia mia bella” are below. The song itself can be heard by clicking here.

English

“My Beautiful Guardia”

Air that enters into my heart
You suddenly speak of love
And sweetly with my soul
You make me sing this poem.

Once upon a time, many years ago
When people went around by foot
A pope named Leo
Carried a papal staff
Of these lands he became the Patron Saint
And Saint Gaetano was rather mortified
To come to an agreement and to make things right
They decided to celebrate them both
One in April, one in August.

But now a river of bitter tears
Brings a bit of nostalgia right to the bones
The quiet stars watch the earth
Where the people make war
For politics or jealousy
It is dying, my Guardia
But if for a moment we stop to think
Only love can save us.

A star falls and all changes
While a memory asks me for help
It recalls when I ran the streets of town
And I said “hello” to the older women who slowly walked up
The street to the Church
Carrying with them a rosary and a stiff bag
I was a child and I didn’t know
That sadness could be a thorn.

My beautiful Guardia full of mountains
Of mighty oak trees and of many chestnut groves
I want to sing this song to you
And hope it makes everyone wake up.

And now returns Father
With all of those who have gone before he starts to dance
The corner of the Piazza laughs and flies
And happiness once again flourishes.

The day breaks in the center of town
And the church bells ring telling us to wake up
The windows open again
And my dream is about to end.

My beautiful Guardia, the sun shines on you
Tell me another old fable
Of when the women went to wash in the fountain
Or when they went to plans and tend to the fields of our town.

In all of the parts of our
Town and countryside
We find both joy and sadness
Of people who have left to lands far and near
Of who has stayed with their lives in their hands.

But this town that you either hate or love
In our heart we carry
As if it was a father or mother
That forever we will love.

ITALIAN

“Mia bella Guardia”

Aria che entri dentro il mio cuore
improvvisamente mi parli d’amore
e dolcemente con l’anima mia
mi fai cantare questa poesia.

C’era una volta, tanti anni fa
quando le persone si muovevano a piedi
un vecchio Papa chiamato Leone
che portava un bel coppolone.
[Mitra papale]

Di queste terre diventò il Santo Patrono
e San Gaetano si mortificò assai.
Per trovare un accordo e fare cose giuste
decisero di festeggiarli entrambi
uno ad Aprile e l’altro ad Agosto.

Ma ora un fiume di lacrime amare
fa scendere la nostalgia sin dentro le ossa
le stelle mute guardano a terra
dove la gente si fa la guerra
o per politica o per gelosia
sta morendo questa Guardia mia
ma se per un momento ci fermiamo a pensare
solo l’amore ci può salvare.

Cade una stella e tutto muta
mentre un ricordo mi chiede aiuto
di quando correvo per le stradine del paese
e salutavo le vecchiette che lentamente salivano
per la via della Chiesa
portando in mano un rosario e una rigida borsa.
Ero bambina e non sapevo
che il dolore poteva essere una spina.

Guardia mia bella piena di montagne
di grosse querce e tante castagne
ti voglio cantare questa canzone
che tutte le persone fa risvegliare.

Ecco che allora torna Papà
con tutti i defunti si mette a ballare
l’angelo della Piazza ride e vola
e l’allegria di nuovo fiorisce.

Sta salendo il giorno dal Padreterno
[antico luogo del centro-paese]
e il campanile rintocca l’ora dicendo di svegliarsi
le finestre si aprono di nuovo
mentre il sogno mio sta per finire.

Guardia mia bella, sole che spunti
dimmi ancora qualche antico racconto
di quando le donne andavano a lavare alla fontana
oppure a piantare e lavorare la terra alle Lazzare
[antica contrada rurale del paese].

Da tutte le parti
paese e campagna
trovi un mondo di gioie e dolori
di gente partita vicina o lontana
di chi è rimasto con la vita in mano.

Ma questo paese che si odia e si ama
dentro al cuore noi lo portiamo
come se fosse un padre o una madre
che per sempre si amerà.

GUARDIESE

“Uardia mia bella”

Aria ca trasi dind’astu cor
a l’andrasatta m’parli d’amor
e doc doc cu l’an’ma mia
m’fai candà sta puesia.

N’gera na vota, tant’anni fa
quannu all’appedu sav’ia camm’na
nu viecchiu Papa cu nu cupp’lonu
ca guarda caso s’chiamava Lionu.
D’quest terr d’v’ndau lu Patronu
e San Gaitanu s’ngazzu buonu buonu
unu d’aprilu l’atu d’austu
s’avera accurdà p’fa tuttu iustu.

Mo n’ziem a nu fium d’lacrm n’foss
sta nustalgia scenn d’int a l’oss
r’stell mup guard’n nderra
addu la gend s’fac la uerra.

E p’pulitica e f’rnsia
stac murenn sta Uardia mia
ma si nu mumendu n’g f’rmammu a p’nzà
sulu l’amor n’g pot salvà.

Cad’na stella e tuttu s’muta
e nu ricordu m’addummanna n’aiutu
d’quannu curria p’queddre viareddre
e salutav’a r’bcchiareddre
ca lend lend sagli’n p la ghiesa
cu lu rusariu e na borza tesa
era criatura nun sapia angora
ch mai putia ess lu duloru.

Uardia mia bella chiena d’mundagn
d’gross cerz e tanda castagn
t’vogliu candà na bella canzona
cu tutta la gende fac ruviglià

Eccu ca allora torna papà
cu tutti li muorti s’mett a ballà
l’Anglu d’la Chiazza rid e abbola
e l’allgria fiurìsc angora.

Mo sagl lu iuoru a lu Patraternu
lu cambanaru sona che ora
e r’fnuestre si torn’n ad aprì
e lu suonnu miu stac p’finì.

Uuardia mia bella sol ca spunti
dimm’ancora nu paru d’cundi
d’quannu a la fundana s’ia a lavà
a r’lazzar s’ia a chiandà.

Da tutt’r part, paese e cambagna
truovi nu munnu d’gioie duluri
d’gend partuta p’l’esteru lundana
di chi è rumastu cu la vita mmanu.

Ma quistu paesu ca s’odia e si ama
Nui lu tinummu dinda a lu coru
Cumm’si foss nu patru o na mamma
ca p’semb…si amerà.

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