At Civitella I found an ideal environment to concentrate on my work: the right kind of isolation and a humane silence, never a gloomy one. I also had the good fortune to live in rooms on the upper floors of the castle with windows looking onto the surrounding park. Some of the majestic oaks in the park almost touched my window panes. If it was hot I would leave the window open and often all I had to do was lean out towards that garden at my fingertips to forget everything for many minutes. Afterwards I would return to my work, leaving the window open. No one called me, no one needed me, it was just me and that powerful green wave pregnant with a secret life that I listened to without being able to comprehend.
Translated from the Italian by Lella Heins.
Hammer (from Toolbox)
A hammer is at once the easiest of our tools and the most profound. No other tool fills the hand as much as a hammer does; none inspires the same degree of dedication to the job and such total acceptance of the task.
With a hammer in hand, our body acquires its proper tension, a classic tension. Every statue ought to have a hammer, visible or invisible, like a second heart or a counterweight to offset the weight of its limbs. Wielding a hammer, we get rounded out, more integrated; it is exactly the one extra thing we need to feel ourselves permanent.
Grasped by the hand, obtuse, cyclopean, childlike, with its weight and its feel, it gives us once again that sensation of freshness in a tool, of a satisfying extension to our bodies, of an effort directed without waste or frustration.
0, first-rate hammer! Willing brother!
Few things are as straightforward as you!
It acts like an epic poem; it’s bilious, goatish, and eagle-like. The force of a juicy anger has been attached to a wooden handle and has been left to ferment and toughen there. That’s how we get hammers—from a slow drip-drip of rage, which finally forms a scab at the end of the handle, an amalgam of wrath. Shape it and polish it, and your hammer is ready to go.
Passivity and power coexist in a hammer. In fact, a hammer works by surprise, by nasty surprises, and its bruising strength is indebted not so much to its force as to its laconic delivery. It doesn’t affirm, it skewers. All of a hammer’s rage, slowly absorbed by the handle, slowly fermented, slowly assimilated, is expressed in one sharp bang! There’s no time for anyone else. Translated from the Spanish by Geoff Hargreaves.