Eva Colombo, Donne d'acqua e d'inchiostro, capitolo ottavo: Acqua di morte, acqua di vita
Eva Colombo, Water’s and ink’s women, eighth chapter: Death’s water, life’s water
As the goat – fish, water is paradoxical: water vivifies and kills. Violante ( female protagonist of Le vergini delle rocce [ The Maidens of the Rocks ] novel written By Gabriele D’Annunzio in 1895 ) and Ghisola ( female protagonist of Con gli occhi chiusi [ With closed eyes ] novel written by Federigo Tozzi in 1919 ) are two basins filled with water gushed from a double – faced fountain: from a fountain’s face gushes life’s water that irrigates their luxuriant sensuality, from the other gushes death’s water that imbues them with libido mortis. It is a water of life and death that has moulded Violante and Ghisola giving them their paradoxical physiognomy of vital bringer of death and deadly bringer of life. Even their beauty bears traces of this duplicity: Claudio and Pietro are at the same time attracted and repulsed by them because they subliminally perceive that not only life but even death would result from the embrace of those not only human girls. Violante’s aristocratic marble profile is beautiful but not vital, her beauty is perfect as that of a statue but this immortal statuary beauty covers a human mortal body for a short lapse of time: when this time is past, immortal beauty transmigrates to incarnate its breath of eternity in another mortal body. Violante doesn’t want to survive the transmigration of immortal beauty from her body, she doesn’t want to accept the imperfect motion of life, she prefers the perfect stillness of death. Ghisola’s beauty too has a sort of “not human something”: it seems that her beauty acts as a supernatural body armour which lends a peculiar power to the poor country – girl. Domenico, Pietro’s surly father, doesn’t like Ghisola; Ghisola fights Domenico’s malevolence with her sharp eyes and her eyelids that seem to cut as a blade of grass. She is a mine – field: to walk at her side means to totter along the border of hereafter. Her bony hands send Pietro away while her black eyes seize him dragging him in the kingdom of darkness where she is a queen. Country – girl Ghisola is a darkness queen: her long black hair seems death’s scythe, her hard fingers seem devil’s pitchfork. Scythe and pitchfork are connected with death because they removed something that has to die in order to leave a space for something that has to be born: so they are connected with life too. The hands of Violante and Ghisola weave death and life in an inextricable way. Violante usually squeezes the violets that adorn her garland - sash to scent her hands with their essence leaving them exhausted on the ground: since scents are the whole life of Violante this violet - sacrifice means a real vital nourishment for her. Ghisola brings at home a nest with five young sparrows, she fills their mouths with crumbs, she kills them squeezing their heads with her fingers, she cooks them into frying – pan to eat them. First she feeds the sparrows with her hands, then with her hands she kills the sparrows to transform them in food for her: Ghisola’s hands weave a life – death – life garland.