Paolo Conte - Sparring Partner (lyrics & video)

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Paolo Conte (born January 6, 1937) is an Italian singer, pianist, composer and lawyer notable for his grainy, resonant voice, his colourful and dreamy compositions (evocative of Italian and Mediterranean sounds, as well as of jazz music, South American atmospheres and of French-language singers like Jacques Brel and Georges Brassens) and his wistful, sometimes melancholic lyrics.

            Paolo Conte - Sparring Partner

È un macaco senza storia,
dice lei di lui,
che gli manca la memoria
infondo ai guanti bui
ma il suo sguardo è una veranda,
tempo al tempo e lo vedrai,
che si addentra nella giungla,
no, non incontrarlo mai

Ho guardato in fondo al gioco
tutto qui?… ma – sai -
sono un vecchio sparring partner
e non ho visto mai
una calma più tigrata,
più segreta di così,
prendi il primo pullmann, via…
tutto il reso è già poesia

Avrà più di quarant’anni
e certi applausi ormai
son dovuti per amore,
non incontrarlo mai
stava lì nel suo sorriso
a guardar passare i tram,
vecchia pista da elefanti
stesa sopra al macadàm…
(English Translation, ORS 2010)

He’s a macaque without a story
she says of him
that he’s losing his memory
at the bottom of dark gloves
but his look is a veranda
with patience and you will see him
that he’s entering the jungle
no, to never be encountered again

I watched from the back of the game
all those who… but well, you know
I am an old sparring partner
and I have never seen
a calm more tiger-like
as secret as that
you take the first Pullman bus to…
everything else is just poetry

 It’s got to be more than 40 years
and by now some applause
is due for love
never to be encountered
I stood there watching in your smile
the passing of the tram
old track of the elephant
stretched over the tarmac...
There is no prosthetic for an amputated spirit
Lt Col Frank Slade (Al Pacino, Scent of a woman)


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