written by Don Renato Delos
The cock’s crow is heard in the morning
and another answers him from the left.
The masseria stirs itself back to life
whether in Martignano or in Sternatia.
I meet the factor’s wife: is the bread already in the oven?
The boss is busy spreading muck,
while Tore has started scything:
there’s much to do and no time to waste.
The pig grunts: I can hear him at a distance
while the goat is afraid and gets into the wheat field:
a cat with seven lives is chasing a butterfly,
and a weary dog dozes on a hay bail.
The donkey brays because its feed is finished,
the hen is laying an egg on the straw
the geese honk on their webbed feet
and the tortoises outside are a sign that summer’s on its way.
That’s how life is in every masseria:
you dig and you work, but always with a smile.
And when of an evening your work is done
you all get together to talk around the fire.
The masserie Mienzi, Gesuini, Carrare and Chicco Rizzo!
The masserie Caloveri and Stomei are somewhere else!
I have been in every one and remember them
like a beautiful dream I’ll never forget.
Caloveri and Stomei! I remember one summer
I often went there by bicycle.
And grandmother Ronzina, who owned the masseria Mienzi,
never let me go home without taking something with me.
But we also know that little has remained
of what was once a beautiful place.
So the Jesuits have all collapsed
and have lost the glimmer of years gone by.
I was never keen on going to the masseria Carrare
(I remember it as though it were yesterday),
because I would go there to harvest tobacco
and when I came back I was always very tired.
But I remember I always liked watching the sunrise
and the sundial – you’ll still see it carved there –
told us the right time, without a watch.
But the masseria Chiccu Rizzu was the one where
I was always happy to go again.
My father took me there to buy wheat
that way I met a man who was very Christian.
He showed me the cows, the horses and the donkeys
and he also showed me the mbili and the tristieddi.
He let me taste the whey and the ricotta
and he always treated me like his own son.
I know this place has always existed
it once offered refreshments to the horse-station for mail of the past.
Horses and stagecoaches coming from afar
found someone to help them here.
The years have now gone by and all has been renewed:
the place is clean and everything is tidy.
If you go to see now it’s all quite different:
you can take a holiday and even get married.
But the beauty of this “masseria” remains
and also the doctors are so courteous.
However, I also think (and that’s right!)
who I miss so much: he is Ntonuccio Carcagnì