Two of Swords: Equilibrium
Nowadays’ poets speak often of depositing in a poem this and that of their liking, as if the poem were my grandmother’s trunk, packed with the English alphabet A to Z. Dante Alighieri did them one better, putting into his his contemporaries. I remember, too, once urging Ludovico Il Moro to flee his dungeon in France, and fly back to his native Milan, his inglorious end-days so distressed me. So why should I not take a page from Dante’s Purgatory? It cannot offend to emulate the great:
One I hailed, who, treading that strait terrace,
was stooped beneath a boulder, while his gaze,
downward cast, searched for footholds: “Gerard,”
I cried out, “You here! Stop! Stop and raise
your eyes! Speak!” And he, caught by surprise
as great as mine, replied: “This weight betrays
a wrong I did you; painfully it lies
on me, til by degrees I wear away,
like steps on stone, the pride that petrifies.”
“If wrong to me, I swear it has no play.
Of all I ever loved, I loved you best,”
I answered him, “all blame sublimed away” –
then turning, left him, toiling with the rest.
A bonbon this, inside a box of words.