Dear members,

this morning (11.04. 2020) Nando Coppola, passed away. We are  all close to the Coppola family for the loss of dear Nando, a wonderful person we will all miss.

We will be present with our thoughts at Nando’s funeral, tomorrow at 11.00 at Corsano. The restrictions imposed these days do not allow us to attend the funeral.

 We hope Hilda and Mary can feel our affection for them.

David, Patrizia, Claudia, Nicky, Susan, Corado

Nando, Fernando E. Coppola

Our beloved Nando, Fernando E. Coppola, is dead. But his serene presence will remain among us. We didn’t look to him for contradictions, bickering. His was an alert, beaming, comprehending face that bolstered confidence. It’s fitting that, if Nando had to leave us, he did so in spring, when hope is in the air after a year of grey winter.

 

Nando was someone who prized the seasons and especially the yearly rebirth that brought back the green world he loved. It was a place full of paths to the sea where he would stand with a very real Salento at his back. He saw the landscape he loved as it was, that was his sadness. But he saw it also as it used be and—he was no pessimist—as he hoped it could be again. He was a gardener with the eye of a botanist, less a harvester than a planter, sturdy and forthright as one of the trees he admired.

 

A lover of the familiar earth he trod, Nando was never parochial. Gazing at the sea,
he felt a clean, gentle wind from ancient times when nature was our mother not our adversary. It’s that soft breath of the more solid world beneath our improvised one that fills his poetry.

 

In his volume Asfodeli (Milella, 2012) Nando began by confronting us with the infinite sky, air, and space. But we were not left alone in vastness for very long. “Timid sheep” and “merry frogs” soon joined us, as did a little donkey nibbling tender thistles. Even the silence of twisted tree trunks was fraternal. In Mary Coppola’s Immagini del Salento (Grifo, 2017), Nando’s poem, Infinito, is illustrated by an hour-old butterfly. His great everywhere is full of humble friends.

 

Nando’ s message to us at Easter is not a sermon but encouragement.

 

Like old houses
weary souls
are renewed at Easter
with a snow-white light,
with youthful hope.

 

Come vecchie case
le anime stanche
si rinnovano a Pasqua
di candida luce,
di giovane speranza.

 

(Translation by Hilda Caffery)

 

Peter Byrne

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