In this piece of the early seventies, Sergio Endrigo, renewing the best lyrical tradition of the troubadours of Provence, faces with compositional ability and freshness of inspiration a central theme of modernity: the ecological and environmental issue.
The problem is not examined in an analytical dimension, cold and intellectualistic, but gently emerges from the metaphorical structure that supports the text.
Following in the footsteps of Jaufré Rudel and Garcia Lorca, the poet Endrigo, modulating with elegance evocative images full of meaning, manages to outline a synthetic, effective and dramatically essential picture.
The ecological motive, in a wide and, so to speak, universal and all-encompassing sense, finds in the stimulating allegory proposed by Endrigo an interesting meditative occasion.
The incipit of the song is very incisive and leaves no doubts of interpretation: the organic and natural balance has been shattered, the spontaneous directionality of the environmental processes, their harmonious integration have undergone a serious degenerative process apparently irreversible and unavoidable.
The flight of seagulls, canonical symbol of purity and vitality, is contaminated by a pathological element that has infiltrated the ordo rerum, altering it at the root. The birds appear to be “remote-controlled”, that is, governed by a completely atheological and blind mechanical principle.
As if that were not enough, the beach is populated by dead, non-existent, phantasmal shells and the sky, the traditional point of reference for human movements, denies the sailor any possibility of orientation and spatio-temporal awareness. The star, not by chance, is made of steel and is deprived of its almost providential and benevolent brightness. Man – the lost sailor is the clear metaphor – seems confused, while the children cultivate their last illusions, induced by a blue but indifferent sky.
The order of phenomena, in the delirium of omnipotence of technology, is inexorably reversed and the anti-heroic knight can only be annihilated by a monstrous tin horse, almost an omen of defeat and failure for a civilization unable to find a sense and an ontological identity.
The land and the sea are reduced to a strange and shapeless white dust and an entire city, Endrigo concludes, is lost in the desert. The desert of indifference and individualistic exasperation, perhaps.
The fatigue of being men condenses, then, in that empty house that no longer waits for anyone, because every belonging is precluded for those who have been engulfed by the black hole of incommunicability. The man who is implicitly sketched here no longer has home or country. It is a homo viator condemned to a pilgrimage that would seem to reproduce not so much the Augustinian and Dante’s model of the journey to God, but a kind of neurotic compulsion to repeat. Then, suddenly, the turning point. The ship will leave. Here is the hope, the still indeterminate yet strong idea of a recovery, of a palingenesis.
It will be like Noah’s Ark, adds Endrigo who, with this allusion, wants to express a sense of cosmic brotherhood that regenerates and revives. And on that ark, the last bulwark at the edge of the abyss, the fantasy of the poet sees united a dog, a cat and two nameless people, “you and I”, that is to say the self and the other, one’s own brother, the two active subjects of the new sharing.
L'arca di Noè