Erri De Luca (1950) is an Italian novelist, translator and  poet. He is selftaught in several languages including Ancient Hebrew and Yiddish. De Luca is also a passionate mountain climber. “The Weight of the Butterfly” is one of his books I thoroughly enjoyed reading and that illustrates beautifully this facet of Erri de Luca.

I feel like sharing with you in pictures some lines of one of his poems : “Considero Valore” or “What I highly value” :

“I highly value any form of life, snow,

a strawberry, a fly,

the mineral kingdom,

the constellation of stars.

I highly value wine, for the time of the meal,

An unvoluntary smile,

I highly value the tiredness of someone who did not spare one’s efforts,

and two elder persons in love.

I highly value all that will not be valuable tomorrow and all that has not yet  much value today.

I highly value all kinds of pains,
I highly value sparing water,

repairing a pair of shoes and

keeping silent when needed,

Rushing up to the first cry, asking permission before sitting, feeling grateful without even knowing why.

I  highly value knowing where the North is in a room, the name of the wind that dries the laundry,

The travel of a vagabond, the nun’s fence,

The patience of the condemned man, no matter the wrong,

I highly value the use of the verb “to love”, Amore,

and the hypothesis there is a Creator

Many of those values, I have not known.”

“Oeuvres sur l’eau et autres poésies, 2002”

Erri de Luca

Quote about books :

“I read old books because pages that have been turned many times and that bear the marks of fingers have more weight for the eyes, because each copy of a book may belong to several lives.

Books should remain free, unattended in public spaces so that they would travel with passers-by who would take them for a while and read them.  Then books should die like their readers, used by sorrows, contaminated, drowned, put inside a stove during  Winter, torn apart by children to make little paper boats. Briefly said, books should die in any way but not because of boredom and  privately owned, sentenced to life on a shelf”.

Erri de Luca



January 28, 2009

Today is one of those slow days. Is it the extreme coldness outside ? It is -5°C and a North wind  just freezes everything. Nothing seems to move apart from an occasional crow gliding over the forest or small birds dashing from the roof to the nearest tree in the garden. The house is quiet too, everyone went off early, and I have been left with a rare and precious gift : silence.

silenceIt is not as if I did not like sounds, the usual music of life but sometimes it just seems too noisy to me. Radio, TV, telephone, cell phones, works on the road or on a building site… When you stop for a while and really listen, can you hear silence around you ? I am lucky because often I can and today is one of those days, wrapped like a present. I can hear myself think and it is a beautiful inner feeling.

I would like to share with you some quotes and thoughts I read every day in a little brochure called “The Monastic Way”. Most of them are from Joan Chittister. This month it is all about “silence”.as-if-meditatingSilence frees us to be ourselves again. It gives us the opportunity to hear out what we ourselves really think about anything. It saves us from having to borrow our opinions.

Silence is the ground for a good relationship. When we listen to the other, we get to know them and they get to love us. It is silence that brings us into intimacy both with others and with God.

“Silence writes Edith Wharton, may be as variously shaded as speech”. Some silence is hard and bitter. Some silence is soft and pliant. Some silence is thoughtful and searching. Some silence is calm and receptive. Some silence is cowardly and weak, Each of them has a purpose and an end. Choose wisely.

Sydney Smith says “He had occasional flashes of silence that made his conversation perfectly delightful.”

Silence requires us to attend to the turmoil within us. It refuses to allow us to ignore our own greatest questions in life.epilobeSilence is not a sign of the death of us. It is the sign that something else is growing in us which, if we nurture it, will finally express itself as a finer edition of ourselves.

The world is not waiting for more noise from us. It is waiting for us to say the truths that can only be born of Silence.

There is no virtue in keeping Silence in the face of injustice. Carol Rittner, RSM writes, “Silence always helps those who cause the suffering, never the victim”.

Alice Walker writes “No person is your friend who demands your Silence or denies your right to grow”.

Constant activity does no more than inactivity. There are some things in life that can’t be forced and can’t be heard in the midst of noise. “Sitting still”, the Zen master teaches, doing nothing. Spring comes and the grass grows by itself”.encounter-1I know many of us live busy, noisy days, we cannot always avoid it. But I wish everyone would receive this wonderful gift of Silence or/and find in your heart your own silence.