“How Do I Say Goodbye to the Thundershowers in July?” Slam poem by David Chen

This original poem—which switches between Spanish, French, and Italian in different sections—was written and performed by undergraduate student David Chen during this year’s Arts Multilingual Week. ⁠

David states: “This poem was written to celebrate the languages within the Department of French, Hispanic and Italian Studies, the years of language and cultural learning that I’ve experienced, and my appreciation for the amazing instructors and staff behind the program. I am a student of FREN 202 under Cécile Ollivier-Budisa and of ITAL 302 under Michela Valmori. In the previous term, I was a student of SPAN 301 under Maria Carbonetti. These professors have been a major source of mentorship in the way I write, speak, and feel poetry.”

How Do I Say Goodbye to the Thundershowers in July?

by David Chen



Son las dieciocho
Eres to’ lo que veo
Se acaba el tiempo
Estás aquí conmigo

Mira, ‘stamos tú y yo
A través del centeno
Persiguiendo bajo el ocaso
Las tormentas de julio

Mira, ‘stamos tú y yo
Sintiéndonos más vivos
Sensación de euforia
Dándome mariposas

Bajo los aguaceros
No puedo explicarlo
las almas y los cuerpos
en buscan del celestial fuego

Qué gloria es tenerte pa’
siempre a mi lado
Qué gloria es mirar fijamente
la luz fugaz contigo
Ojalá la puesta de sol
se detenga y nunca se caiga
Si se cayera, que se caiga lenta
y aún más lenta

Lentement, il partira
Forcément, tu t’en iras
Je ne veux pas tout lâcher :
le dimanche chez toi en cet été,

les nuances de bleu dans ces yeux,
les couleurs des lys de feu,
les sons de la pluie de minuit,
les tons bordeaux sur ma chemise

T’étais partout où j’allais
mais nulle part je te trouvais
Tout ce temps,
j’ai mal lu les papillons
Par ta faute,
j’ai pas fait assez attention

J’étais naïf, j’étais sot – j’étais fou !
Tu voulais de la permanence
sans aucune distance
ou le poids de l’absence

T’as choisi l’ambition
T’voulais une maison
T’voulais le monde
T’voulais tout… tout

Tutto fuorché me
Non volevo altro –
altro che te
Ero la luna,
tu volevi le stelle
Ero la fiamma,
tu cercavi la luce

Per breve che fosse
Sentivamo in noi l’emozione,
i bei legami,
la forte tensione
Quindi, come ti porgo l’ultimo saluto?

Se c’è qualcosa
tra noi che resta
Te lo prometto,
non mi fermerò

Ma se fallisco,
ti auguro
di vivere al massimo, la vita più felice
perché siamo tutti qui
tanto brevemente

Se un giorno dovessimo ritrovarci,
allora quando mi guardi,
il modo in cui l’anima mia si muove
il modo in cui il viso mio sorride
il modo in cui mi chiami col tuo nome
ecco come saprò che
noi saremo ancor io e te

English Translation

It’s almost eight
You’re all I can see
It’s getting so late
You’re here with me

It’s you and I
Through the rye
Chasing sunset skies
Thundershowers in July

It’s you and I
Feeling more alive
Adrenaline highs
Giving me butterflies

Under the rain
I cannot explain
souls and bodies
seek a fire so heavenly

How glorious it is
to forever have you by my side
How glorious it is
to stare at the fleeting light
I hope the sunset
stops itself and never falls
Should it fall, let it fall
at its slowest

Slowly, it will set
Inevitably, you’ll go too
I do not want to let it all go:
the Sunday at yours that summer,

the shades of blue in those eyes,
the colours of fire lilies,
the sounds of midnight rain,
the burgundy on my shirt

You were everywhere I went
but were nowhere to be found
All this time,
I misread the butterflies
Because of you,
I wasn’t careful enough

I was naive, dense – foolish I was!
You wanted permanence
without any distance
or weight of absence

You chose ambitions
You wanted a home
You wanted the world
You wanted it all… everything

Everything but me
I wanted nothing –
nothing but you
I was the moon,
you wanted the stars
I was the flame,
you sought for the light

However short it was
We’d felt within us the emotions
beautiful connections,
strong tension
So how do I say goodbye?

If there’s something
between us that remains
I promise you this,
I will not stop

But if I fail,
I wish you
to live to the fullest, the happiest
because we are all here
ever so briefly

If one day we should meet again,
when you look at me then,
the way my soul moves
the way my face smiles
the way you call me by your name
that’s how I’ll know
it’s still you and I