The songs are angels

by Claudia Ravaldi
CiaoLapo Onlus
CiaoLapo Onlus
The first volume of the “Words of Love” series, the CiaoLapo Onlus literary competition. The 2011 edition of the competition was won by Antonio Agrestini with the text “ The Songs are Angels “. The “Words of Love” speak a difficult language, which the ear can hardly get used to.
When they come out, they make emotions that are often heavy and painful, yet very vivid, vibrate in the air.
So strong, as to seem unspeakable, so frightening as to be unlistenable.

This is the volume index:

  • Preface – Claudia Ravaldi
  • Without my son – Massimo Capozza
  • January 20, 1994 – Irma Vaccari
  • Alzheimer – Carlo Moiraghi
  • A beat of wings – Serafina di Ninno
  • Chiara del Sole – Giovanni Avesani
  • The songs are Angels – Antonio Agrestini
  • David, loved by God – Nicoletta Celotti
  • Short story – Francesco Cangioli
  • Fairy Tale on the Bottom of the River – Federico Manicone
  • A breath of life – Sabrina Sasso
  • Afterword – Francesco Bargellini

From the Preface

Claudia Ravaldi, Psychiatrist and Psychotherapist
Founder and President of the CiaoLapo Onlus Association

The “Words of Love” speak a difficult language, which the ear can hardly get used to.
When they come out, they make emotions that are often heavy and painful, yet very vivid, vibrate in the air.
So strong, as to seem unspeakable, so frightening as to be unlistenable.
If you are very very lucky, or very distracted, you just need to plug your ears: so the “Words of Love” will never hit you and will bounce away, away from closed hands, low looks and hasty steps that go away.
Sometimes it happens instead that the “Words of Love” begin to sprout from within: usually it happens after being hit in the chest by pain, so strong as to seem in-sayable, so frightening as to seem unlistenable.
And here, day after day, after having taken away all the other words, the “Words of Love” begin to make room, outside the overwhelmed hearts, beyond the folded arms, beyond the mute mouths.
Sometimes at first they form a scream, other times a perennial furrow on the forehead, or they bend their shoulders in a shy posture.
Then, one day, it simply happens: the words of Love, after having frightened, hurt, grieved, indisposed, isolated, speechless, sprout in Love.
And it is then that they free themselves all around us, and transform lives into stories and poems.

“The songs are Angels” is the first collection of “Words of Love”, which after a long pilgrimage, sprouted in the hearts of fathers, mothers, uncles, and brothers of children not too far away, at least not definitively.

I hope that the reading of these words, their sharing, will allow other words, hidden and suffocated in each of our hearts, to come out into the open.

A hug,


The CiaoLapo Onlus association has among its objectives the dissemination of the culture on perinatal bereavement, and on the issues inherent to it.

In order to outline a moment of special reflection and creativity on this theme, in January 2011 CiaoLapo presented its first

literary competition: “The words of Love: stories of Maternity between Heaven and Earth”, in collaboration with the publishing house Ipertesto Edizioni of Verona.

The competition, open to all and free to participate, saw 18 entries submitted.

The competition was open to original, unpublished works, and the author’s exclusive intellectual property.

The works have been read by a special commission selected from the members of the CiaoLapo Onlus association and will be published on the website:

The 10 works considered best by the commission were instead published in this book, edited by the CiaoLapo non-profit association in collaboration with the Ipertesto publishing house and distributed in the best Italian bookstores and online catalogs: will be donated to the association to support the statutory objectives and purposes.


In a competition like this, which I was kindly invited to participate as a judge, the literary aspect of the various contributions is inevitably surmounted by something great and better that I would call life, at the cost of seeming generic. . It is a question of distinction: despite the sorcerers who in every age and culture have tried to mix them up, life and literature are different things, thank God. One does what only she knows how to do and carries herself in the name, that is, she lives; the other watches it live, then reflects it and finally substitutes it. Life is better because it is immediate, in itself complete and autonomous; he doesn’t need literature, which instead desperately needs her to find a niche for herself and give herself a reason. In any case, one is not the other, the respective perimeters (and parameters) do not coincide and it is not uncommon to see them scrambling, even, as old lovers who now have little to say but something, mysteriously, binds them .

I believe so, really; and I believe as a consequence that the texts presented in the competition, even the most beautiful, have been crushed on a formal level by the devastating power of experiences, frankly inarginable, and it is right; all the more so since none of the writings, on closer inspection, have suffered damage. This is literature which shows its specific character better than elsewhere: it makes us understand its vicarious, compensatory nature; and it plainly declares one of its brightest functions, the therapeutic one. An ancient teacher of mine used to say that the writer is a sick person who takes care of himself. If it weren’t for the fact that the supposed sick person, at the moment in which he can – he is not said to do so, the work is not the point! – express evil, really look at it, almost feel its roughness to the touch; when he is ready, he is no longer such, he is an enlightened one, instead: a baptized person in a different order of existence.

It is difficult to say this to parents who have submitted their contributions; it is difficult, or rather terribly unfair, to even assume. I suppose that even this pain, for which I find no comparisons and which causes inexperienced people the feeling of never having really suffered, has been softened by its projection on paper, perhaps with the comfort of art. It is a supposition, I know nothing about it and it would not surprise me to be accused, for this, of a certain carelessness.

I might add that I have found some real talent in some of the evidence I have seen, but you will excuse me if I persist in believing that this is not the question. In all of them, on the other hand, without distinction, I read the courage to live afterwards too, and this, yes, that’s all. The initiative of “The Words of Love” solicits this courage, inviting a testimony that wants to become literature but, whether or not it reaches the finish line, it is already much more: a form of light stand out from the dark, of the unmentionable pain for those who he wrote, of ignorance for others. A merit, authentic.

Francesco Bargellini, poet.

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