4-28 Dante’s Visions

3 or 4 Christmases ago, I bought the whole collection of Dante’s classical poem. This is my synopsis in verse.


Dante Abridged

—Danta Aighierti, The Divine Comedy, Trans. Allen Mandelbaum



—Text from Inferno canto XXVII, 8-9


When our routines and practices collapse

Under an avalanche of grief and dread,

We grope for shafts of light between the gaps.

The empty chair. The ghost we feel at night.

The space across the room. The vacant bed.

Our anguish shades the noon into twilight.

Abandon every hope who enters here.

Tears will not fill the void when life feels dead.

No passion pierced the heart as Shadow’s spear.



—Text from Purgatorio canto IV, 22


It’s said the gate is wide and broad the way

That squanders life—though billions strut its course.

The true gate’s thin and few slip through its splay.

This place is here! Not there, and needs the Guide.

The Holy One above contains the force

To show the way and travel by our side.

The tree forever bears fruit ripe to pick

And promises charming taste, then remorse.

The Book warns this is Liar’s oldest trick.



—Text Paradiso cantos XXXII. 130, XXXIII 100-126


Not Beatrice nor Virgil is the one

To lead all souls out of their darkest wood.

It takes I AM, beyond comparison.

The empty chair and bed is our space,

As dark and deep inside the Reaper’s hood.

Our end is not adorned in coffin lace:

We choose our fate today, by day, by day—

Though where we go, the way is understood.

Follow the Guide beyond the Milky Way.


Inferno Reprise


I heard a law of life has this refrain:

Whatever we free; whatever we chain,

Defines our fate in our final domain.


Purgatorio Reprise


This is not there, but here in earth’s terrain.

I fight the venom flowing through each vein.

My guide’s embrace leads me throughout this pain.


Paradiso Reprise


He took my hand and said “I must explain.

My love for you, the cosmos can’t contain.

Come follow me and see where Light does reign.”