For this whole year

For this whole year I've managed to repress
all my accustomed vices, none remain
except for drink. And if I don't abstain
God will excuse what's simply not my fault,
since at whatever hour I rise and dress
my body feels as if it's packed with salt.
In such a case, I ask, who could resist
wetting tongue and palate-so what's wrong?
But on a good Greek import I insist,
because the local wine annoys me-more
than when my lady drives me from her door.
He did a noble thing who first made wine-
which keeps me feeling cheerful all day long!
That's one, at least, whom I shall not malign.

Cecco Angiolieri (c.1260-1312)
translations ©2001 Leonard Cottrell

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2011 Selected Poetry
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