Pierangelo Bertoli, 1980
A song in favor of a woman’s right to choose, from a time when either choice to be made for an unwanted pregnancy resulted in social stigma. Unfortunately, the song is relevant still today. For the moment (2008), abortion is legal in Italy, but the political right wing and the Catholic church are doing what they can to make obtaining an abortion – or even birth control – more difficult. Teenage pregnancy has not been a big phenomenon in Italy to date, but at this rate…
A year or two ago we went out to dinner at Taverna ai Poggi, a restaurant near our home in Lecco. The only table left was in the basement, alongside a large (pre-arranged) banquet of some sort. We were a merry little bunch, and the restaurant staff kept apologetically asking us to quiet down so we wouldn’t disturb the other group. Perforce, we listened to them, and were astonished to hear a long recital of vitriolic anti-abortion poetry. Had I had my wits about me, I should have replied with this song.
|Anna che hai scavalcato le montagnee hai preso a pugni le tue
lo so che non é facile il tuo giorno
ma il tuo pensiero é fatto di ragioni
i padri han biasimato la tua azione
la chiesa ti ha bollato d’eresia
i cambiamento impone la reazione
e adesso sei il nemico e cosi’ sia
Credo che in certi momenti il cervello non sa piu’ pensare
e corre in rifugi da pazzi e
non vuole tornare
poi cado coi piedi per terra e
scoppiano folgore e tuono
non credo alla vita pacifica non credo al perdono
Adesso quando i medici di turno rifiuteranno di esserti d’aiuto
perchÉ venne un polacco ad insegnargli
che é piu’ cristiano imporsi col rifiuto
pretenderanno che tu torni indietro
e ti costringeranno a partorire
per poi chiamarlo figlio della colpa
e tu una Maddalena da pentire.
Volevo dedicarti quattro righe,
per quanto puo’ valere una canzone
credo che tu abbia fatto qualche cosa
anche se questa é solo un’opinione
che lascerai il tuo segno nella vita e i poveri bigotti reazionari
dovranno fare senza peccatrici
saranno senza scopi umanitari
|Anna, [you] who have climbed the mountainsand have beaten up your traditions
I know your day isn’t easy
but your thought is made up of [correct] reasons
The fathers have censured your action
the church has declared you a heretic
change requires reaction
and now you’re the enemy, and so be it.
I believe that in certain moments the brain doesn’t know how to think anymore
and runs into crazy refuges and doesn’t want to return
then I fall with my feet on the ground
and lightning and thunder explode
I don’t believe in the peaceful life,
I don’t believe in pardon.
Now that the doctors on duty
will refuse to help you
because a Polack* came to teach them
that it is more Christian to impose oneself by refusal
They will expect that you turn back
and they will force you to give birth
to then call him “child of shame” and you a Magdalene to repent.
I wanted to dedicate four lines to you, for whatever a song may be worth
I believe you have done something,
although this is only an opinion,
that will leave your sign in life
and the poor reactionary bigots
will have to do without [female] sinners
they will be without humanitarian aims.
|* Polacco in Italian is not a pejorative term. It merely connotes a male citizen of Poland, in this specific case, Karol Wojtyla, aka the late Pope John Paul II. However, I think the context justifies using the pejorative English term rather than the neutral (and potentially confusing, in spite of capitalization) “Pole”.
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