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Isabella Morra's Poetry

03 Marzo 2021
Isabella Morra's Poetry Foto: Maria Antonietta Elia Maria Antonietta Elia
Isabella Morra's Poetry is the real transposition of the moods of a young woman who pursues dreams and builds projects, who cultivates her aspirations and defends them from external assaults. By Maria Antonietta Elia

Isabella Morra's Poetry is the real transposition of the moods of a young woman who pursues dreams and builds projects, who cultivates her aspirations and defends them from external assaults by resorting to various forms of escape attributable to her condition of existential loneliness. "Fiore del deserto" *, Isabella expands her scent in arid and wild places and resists the wind that overwhelmingly assails with her free song.

The verses of the Poetess like rivulets of a source hidden between cliffs and meadows flow from her soul, now restless, now anxious, now prey to suggestions dictated by hope, now reassured by the light of God. If in the Sonnets the contradictions between Isabella's aspirations and the environment in which her youth is blossomed are clearly evident, in her Songs, in particular in the twelfth and thirteenth, we witness a dilution of these contradictions and a re-evaluation of those places considered hostile and responsible for the failure of her projects life.
If in the Sonnets "crudel fortuna" is repeatedly referred to and perceived as the "Natura matrigna" who makes no concessions to Isabella, on the contrary, ruthlessly takes away the illusions that are the source of life, “d’ogni mio ben son cassa e priva” e “nel più bel sperar poi mi dispero”, in the Songs a new resource comes forward that gently shapes Isabella's soul.

It is "amor celeste" that distracts her from the fallacy of worldly goods and removes her from the "procelloso mar pien di tempeste”.
If in the Sonnets we can grasp the concreteness of the places: “Siri mio amato”, “alto monte, valle inferna, fiume alpestre, ruinati sassi, selve incolte, solitarie grotte” and the reference to characters with whom Isabella relates: the beloved father, King Francis I, the lady of Senise, the poet Luigi Alamanni, in the Songs the places already mentioned represent oases that allow Isabella the possibility to transcend reality and to rise in the higher spheres to contemplate God. It is precisely in these places, previously denigrated for their wildness and darkness, that Isabella contemplates the beauty of Jesus and witnesses some visions, all linked to the earthly experience of Jesus.

This passage, from a poem that documents the existential condition of Isabella all anchored to reality and expression of understandable moods typical of a young woman who faces life with joyful expectations of a "religious" poem that discovers its new dimension, that of contemplative ecstasy, which reduces and then cancels the calls of the earthly world and which places it in a state of spiritual well-being, is gradual; in fact already in her tenth sonnet the poetess, repentant of her “del suo cieco error”, “spera arricchirsi in Dio”. **.

In the thirteenth song, Isabella inflamed by divine Love rises into the celestial spaces “nel solare e glorioso lembo”, there where “è perfetta, matura e intera ciascuna disianza”, as Saint Benedict of Norcia says, a contemplating spirit present in the Heaven of Saturn of the Dante's Paradise

*Maria Antonietta Elia, “I sonetti di Isabella Morra” Ed. Adda – Bari a cura di Maria Antonietta Elia

**“Le Canzoni Religiose” di Isabella Morra Ed. Adda – Bari di Maria Antonietta Elia

Isabella Morra
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Isabella Morra

Valsinni (Matera)

D'un alto monte onde si scorge il mare / miro sovente io, tua figlia Isabella, / s'alcun legno spalmato in quello appare, / che di te, padre, a me doni favella

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