Sullen and bored the kids stay
and in this way they wish away each day.
Stoned in the mall the kids play
and in this way wish away each day.

Porcupine Tree

According to a New Age concept which has raised a wide-ranging discussion and has never been confirmed by scientific evidence, crystal children are a new “race” that appeared on our planet at the turn of the millennium. They are generally considered to be happy and willing to forgive, with big mesmerizing eyes capable of seeing people’s soul. They are extremely vulnerable and sometimes seem to be lost in their own world, and for this reason they are likely to be diagnosed as autistic. Martina Campi lyrically describes their empathic character and the conflict with a dictatorial adult world that can’t understand them. Good nature and silence are also the relevant features of the little girl in the memory of Valentina Pinza, who looks after her mother, frightened and worried. A similar night scene can be found in the verses by Silvio Perfetti, that film the homecoming of a drunken father and the loneliness of a child turned into a receptacle for emotional outbursts. In the poems by Silvia Secco and Cristina Bove, children are represented as damaged angels, hidden behind walls made of rules, lies and objects like masks built by grown-ups. They are angels with clipped wings that sometimes, as in Cristina’s poem, manage to fly all the same, and sometimes, like in Silvia’s verses, stay on the ground to heal their bruises and wounds in order to survive.

Of deceptions and apparitions

by Cristina Bove

i fiordalisi del parato
i ghirigori
i tralci ammutoliti senza vento
davano sicurezza agli inquilini
l’intonaco un segreto  
mai rivelato ai nuovi abitatori
e tra velluti e nappe
elefanti turchini fermalibri
    _bambina non giocare con la palla_
    dissero in coro le pareti, qui
    si respira polvere e passato
    le vedi le creature sul parquet? le vedi?
    occhi di giada tremule vibrisse
    _oh, sì, gatti viola_
    non sono gatti _ribadì la madre
    abbandonata tra i cuscini_
si potevano scorgere chimere
unicorni grifoni basilischi
scaglie code
ali nervate trasparenti o nere
    Crebbe d’un tratto la bambina, neve
    le cadde sui capelli, gli occhi
    non vollero vedere
appassivano intanto le vetrate
come se un cencio le afflosciasse, come
se un soffio d’anima rovente
le sciogliesse
le domestiche afflitte
frantumavano brocche di pandora
per farne tracimare finti amori
e piccoli omicidi giornalieri
    soltanto la bambina ebbe sospetti
    ma sostenuta da presenze arcane
    spinse da parte il mare
    e volò via

the wallpaper’s cornflowers
the doodles
the dumbed windless sprays
made the tenants feel safe
the plaster a secret
never disclosed to the new dwellers
and among velvets and tassels
turquoise elephants bookends
    _little girl, do not play with the ball_
    said the walls as one, here
    we breathe dust and the past
    you see the creatures on the parquet, don’t you?
    Jade-green eyes trembling whiskers
    _oh, yes, purple cats_
    they are not cats_the mother reaffirmed
    abandoned between the cushions_
there you could glimpse chimeras
unicorns griffons basilisks
scales tails
ribbed wings transparent or black
    all of a sudden the little girl grew up, snow
    fell on her hair, her eyes
    didn’t want to see
the glass-windows withered in the meantime
as if a rag made them flabby, as
if a breath of burning soul
melted them
the unhappy maids
smashed Pandora’s jars
to let false love affairs overflow
and little daily murders
    only the little girl harboured suspicions
    but supported by mysterious presences
    pushed the sea apart
    and flew away

Carriers of abnormal language schemes

by Martina Campi

Painstakingly asking for attention
and demanding telepathy from you
when we said you should talk
and don’t play with the stones.
It is when you have room enough inside your brain to feel
all the pain around, like a conscience to set free
that doesn’t leave out nor forget anybody,
where you shine even when you halt.

Good girl

by Valentina Pinza

What a good girl! I never breathed a word.
Never left traces.
I quietly examined you as you took your drops
every evening  at the evening examination
I carefully counted them when you asked me
to put them in the glass
at half past 9, I dripped the drops then
I went to bed worried  
that I may had got the dose wrong
my bedroom door left open to let the light in
and sometimes your voice,
despite the fear
of hearing you talk to yourself.

He comes home

by Silvio Perfetti

He comes home
late at night
drunk with discomfort
plus two litres of wine
he throws the door open
as if rained down
from a cloud of acid
and vomits on you
the rancours for his failures
then he goes away
and leaves you alone
knick-knack
among knick-knacks.

Little poisonous snake

by Silvia Secco

There are wounded children
behind the closed doors of your houses
with landscape gardens and
wellaligned flowers out there in the boxes.
Inside, instead, under carpets
of tidy hair/ ironed dresses/
healthy christian educations
there you hide them: children violated
like interruptions. Butterflies not yet
touched on their diminutive wings not yet
mature broken branded wings.
This pitch is all that’s left. You cannot remove it
from the wings it crusts over it becomes a scar
fraud lead weight in flight
guilt. No: they won’t fly anymore. Yes, they
will grow up and look like you
maybe in their faces, in some idioms or the tone
of their voices. You will be proud of them:
you have accustomed them not to make any noise
to sit orderly obedient
good kids dumb-dumbed and alone (alone
they will always be). Absorbed   
in removing bruises. In surviving you.

Argento di lumaca

by Rodolfo Cernilogar

This is why I have chosen words.
Because they never grow old.
Exactly like the oak’s bark
at the border of a wheat field.

As explained in the book’s epigraph by Giampiero Neri, the snail is a diminutive creature which moves lonely and silent, leaving “sometimes a trail, a sort of shiny trace among the grass”. It is the same shimmer that vests things under the gaze of Rodolfo Cernilogar, an author that in his verses becomes discreet like a snail but, at the same time, brightens up everything he describes, as if he laid a magic patina, a silver veil on things. A childish amazement stubbornly fills these finely chiselled compositions, the result of consistent reading, as can be inferred from the number of homages to beloved poets scattered throughout the book. There is an intention to understand life through the compelling form of the fairy tale, by means of characters such as pirates, mermaids, princesses and a flower chatting with a butterfly. And, like in every respectable fairy tale, the setting is quite important: there are actually many references to nature, which is contemplated in the smallest details, as if the poet wanted to paint it under our eyes. We feel the heat of the sun on our eyelids, the noise of stones bouncing in the waves, the rustle of grass under our feet, even the black dust left by pine nuts on our fingers. And all this is told with the aim of conveying the impression of a neverending discovery, as if the poet had changed his eyes with those of the little girl he affectionately evokes in most of the poems. Apparently the poet doesn’t want to communicate strong emotions, there is no inner devastation, no emotional outbursts, no drama, and yet from time to time we shed tears of emotion, that kind of tears that Tonino Guerra could provoke with the same simplicity and tenderness. With the lightness that, as explained in one of the last poems, Peter Pan presents us with by cutting our shadow away.