Author:

The Lonely God

So Eden was deserted, and at eve
Into the quiet place God came to grieve.
His face was sad, His hands hung slackly down
Along his robe; too sorrowful to frown
He paced along the grassy paths and through
The silent trees, and where the flowers grew
Tended by Adam. All the birds had gone
Out to the world, and singing was not one
To cheer the lonely God out of His grief —
The silence broken only when a leaf
Tapt lightly on a leaf, or when the wind,
Slow-handed, swayed the bushes to its mind.

And so along the base of a round hill,
Rolling in fern, He bent His way until
He neared the little hut which Adam made,
And saw its dusky rooftree overlaid
With greenest leaves. Here Adam and his spouse
Were wont to nestle in their little house
Snug at the dew-time: here He, standing sad,
Sighed with the wind, nor any pleasure had
In heavenly knowledge, for His darlings twain
Had gone from Him to learn the feel of pain,
And what was meant by sorrow and despair, —
Drear knowledge for a Father to prepare.

There he looked sadly on the little place;
A beehive round it was, without a trace
Of occupant or owner; standing dim
Among the gloomy trees it seemed to Him
A final desolation, the last word
Wherewith the lips of silence had been stirred.
Chaste and remote, so tiny and so shy,
So new withal, so lost to any eye,
So pac’t of memories all innocent
Of days and nights that in it had been spent
In blithe communion, Adam, Eve, and He,
Afar from Heaven and its gaudery;
And now no more! He still must be the God
But not the friend; a Father with a rod
Whose voice was fear, whose countenance a threat,
Whose coming terror, and whose going wet
With penitential tears; not evermore
Would they run forth to meet Him as before
With careless laughter, striving each to be
First to His hand and dancing in their glee
To see Him coming — they would hide instead
At His approach, or stand and hang the head,
Speaking in whispers, and would learn to pray
Instead of asking, ‘Father, if we may.’

Never again to Eden would He haste
At cool of evening, when the sun had paced
Back from the tree-tops, slanting from the rim
Of a low cloud, what time the twilight dim
Knit tree to tree in shadow, gathering slow
Till all had met and vanished in the flow
Of dusky silence, and a brooding star
Stared at the growing darkness from afar,
While haply now and then some nested bird
Would lift upon the air a sleepy word
Most musical, or swing its airy bed
To the high moon that drifted overhead.

‘Twas good to quit at evening His great throne,
To lay His crown aside, and all alone
Down through the quiet air to stoop and glide
Unkenned by angels: silently to hide
In the green fields, by dappled shades, where brooks
Through leafy solitudes and quiet nooks
Flowed far from heavenly majesty and pride,
From light astounding and the wheeling tide
Of roaring stars. Thus does it ever seem
Good to the best to stay aside and dream
In narrow places, where the hand can feel
Something beside, and know that it is real.
His angels! silly creatures who could sing
And sing again, and delicately fling
The smoky censer, bow and stand aside
All mute in adoration: thronging wide,
Till nowhere could He look but soon He saw
An angel bending humbly to the law
Mechanic; knowing nothing more of pain,
Than when they were forbid to sing again,
Or swing anew the censer, or bow down
In humble adoration of His frown.
This was the thought in Eden as He trod —
. . . It is a lonely thing to be a God.

So long! afar through Time He bent His mind,
For the beginning, which He could not find,
Through endless centuries and backwards still
Endless forever, till His ‘stonied will
Halted in circles, dizzied in the swing
Of mazy nothingness. — His mind could bring
Not to subjection, grip or hold the theme
Whose wide horizon melted like a dream
To thinnest edges. Infinite behind
The piling centuries were trodden blind
In gulfs chaotic — so He could not see
When He was not who always had To Be.

Not even godly fortitude can stare
Into Eternity, nor easy bear
The insolent vacuity of Time:
It is too much, the mind can never climb
Up to its meaning, for, without an end,
Without beginning, plan, or scope, or trend
To point a path, there nothing is to hold
And steady surmise: so the mind is rolled
And swayed and drowned in dull Immensity.
Eternity outfaces even Me
With its indifference, and the fruitless year
Would swing as fruitless were I never there.

And so for ever, day and night the same,
Years flying swiftly nowhere, like a game
Played random by a madman, without end
Or any reasoned object but to spend
What is unspendable — Eternal Woe!
O Weariness of Time that fast or slow
Goes never further, never has in view
An ending to the thing it seeks to do,
And so does nothing: merely ebb and flow,
From nowhere into nowhere, touching so
The shores of many stars and passing on,
Careless of what may come or what has gone.

O solitude unspeakable! to be
For ever with oneself! never see
An equal face, or feel an equal hand,
To sit in state and issue reprimand,
Admonishment or glory, and to smile
Disdaining what has happenèd the while!
O to be breast to breast against a foe!
Against a friend! to strive and not to know
The laboured outcome: love nor be aware
How much the other loved, and greatly care
With passion for that happy love or hate,
Nor know what joy or dole was hid in fate.
For I have ranged the spacy width and gone
Swift north and south, striving to look upon
An ending somewhere. Many days I sped
Hard to the west, a thousand years I fled
Eastwards in fury, but I could not find
The fringes of the Infinite. Behind
And yet behind, and ever at the end
Came new beginnings, paths that did not wend
To anywhere were there: and ever vast
And vaster spaces opened — till at last
Dizzied with distance, thrilling to a pain
Unnameable, I turned to Heaven again.
And there My angels were prepared to fling
The cloudy incense, there prepared to sing
My praise and glory — O, in fury I
Then roared them senseless, then threw down the sky
And stamped upon it, buffeted a star
With my great fist, and flung the sun afar:
Shouted My anger till the mighty sound
Rung to the width, frighting the furthest bound
And scope of hearing: tumult vaster still,
Throning the echo, dinned My ears, until
I fled in silence, seeking out a place
To hide Me from the very thought of Space.

And so, He thought, in Mine own Image I
Have made a man, remote from Heaven high
And all its humble angels: I have poured
My essence in his nostrils: I have cored
His heart with My own spirit; part of Me,
His mind with laboured growth unceasingly
Must strive to equal Mine; must ever grow
By virtue of My essence till he know
Both good and evil through the solemn test
Of sin and retribution, till, with zest,
He feels his godhead, soars to challenge Me
In Mine own Heaven for supremacy.

Through savage beasts and still more savage clay,
Invincible, I bid him fight a way
To greater battles, crawling through defeat
Into defeat again: ordained to meet
Disaster in disaster; prone to fall,
I prick him with My memory to call
Defiance at his victor and arise
With anguished fury to his greater size
Through tribulation, terror, and despair.
Astounded, he must fight to higher air,
Climb battle into battle till he be
Confronted with a flaming sword and Me.

So growing age by age to greater strength,
To greater beauty, skill and deep intent:
With wisdom wrung from pain, with energy
Nourished in sin and sorrow, he will be
Strong, pure and proud an enemy to meet,
Tremendous on a battle-field, or sweet
To walk by as friend with candid mind.
–Dear enemy or friend so hard to find,
I yet shall find you, yet shall put My breast
In enmity or love against your breast:
Shall smite or clasp with equal ecstasy
The enemy or friend who grows to Me.

The topmost blossom of his growing I
Shall take unto Me, cherish and lift high
Beside myself upon My holy throne: —
It is not good for God to be alone.
The perfect woman of his perfect race
Shall sit beside Me in the highest place
And be my Goddess, Queen, Companion, Wife,
The rounder of My majesty, the life
Of My ambition. She will smile to see
Me bending down to worship at her knee
Who never bent before, and she will say,
‘Dear God, who was it taught Thee how to pray?"

And through eternity, adown the slope
Of never-ending time, compact of hope,
Of zest and young enjoyment, I and She
Will walk together, sowing jollity
Among the raving stars, and laughter through
The vacancies of Heaven, till the blue
Vast amplitudes of space lift up a song,
The echo of our presence, rolled along
And ever rolling where the planets sing
The majesty and glory of the King.
Then conquered, thou, Eternity, shalt lie
Under My hand as little as a fly.

I am the Master: I the mighty God
And you My workshop. Your pavilions trod
By Me and Mine shall never cease to be,
For you are but the magnitude of Me,
The width of My extension, the surround
Of My dense splendour. Rolling, rolling round,
To steeped infinity, and out beyond
My own strong comprehension, you are bond
And servile to My doings. Let you swing
More wide and ever wide, you do but fling
Around the instant Me, and measure still
The breadth and proportion of My Will.

Then stooping to the hut — a beehive round —
God entered in and saw upon the ground
The dusty garland, Adam, (learned to weave)
Had loving placed upon the head of Eve
Before the terror came, when joyous they
Could look for God at closing of the day
Profound and happy. So the Mighty Guest
Rent, took, and placed the blossoms in His breast.
‘This,’ said He gently, ‘I shall show My queen
When she hath grown to Me in space serene,
And say "’twas worn by Eve."’ So, smiling fair,
He spread abroad His wings upon the air.

Ellen Terry In The Merchant Of Venice

As there she lives and moves upon the scene,
So lived and moved this radiant womanhood
In Shakespeare’s vision; in such wise she stood
Smiling upon Bassanio; such her mien
When pity dimmed her eyelids’ golden sheen,
Hearing Antonio’s story, and the blood
Paled on her cheek, and all her lightsome mood
Was gone. This shape in Shakespeare’s thought has been!
Thus dreamt he of her in gray London town;
Such were her eyes; on such gold-colored hair
The grave young judge’s velvet cap was set;
So stood she lovely in her crimson gown.
Mine were a happy cast, could I but snare
Her beauty in a sonnet’s fragile net.

The Spirit’s Depths

Not in the crisis of events
Of compass’d hopes, or fears fulfill’d,
Or acts of gravest consequence,
Are life’s delight and depth reveal’d.
The day of days was not the day;
That went before, or was postponed;
The night Death took our lamp away
Was not the night on which we groan’d.
I drew my bride, beneath the moon,
Across my threshold; happy hour!
But, ah, the walk that afternoon
We saw the water-flags in flower!

Books And Seasons

Because the sky is blue; because blithe May
Masks in the wren’s note and the lilac’s hue;
Because — in fine, because the sky is blue
I will read none but piteous tales to-day.
Keep happy laughter till the skies be gray,
And the sad season cypress wears, and rue;
Then, when the wind is moaning in the flue,
And ways are dark, bid Chaucer make us gay.
But now a little sadness! All too sweet
This springtide riot, this most poignant air,
This sensuous world of color and perfume.
So listen, love, while I the woes repeat
Of Hamlet and Ophelia, and that pair
Whose bridal bed was builded in a tomb.

Thalia

"A MIDDLE-AGED LYRICAL POET IS SUPPOSED TO BE TAKING FINAL LEAVE OF THE MUSE OF COMEDY. SHE HAS BROUGHT HIM HIS HAT AND GLOVES, AND IS ABSTRACTEDLY PICKING A THREAD OF GOLD HAIR FROM HIS COAT SLEEVE AS HE BEGINS TO SPEAK:

I say it under the rose–
oh, thanks! –yes, under the laurel,
We part lovers, not foes;
we are not going to quarrel.

We have too long been friends
on foot and in guilded coaches,
Now that the whole thing ends,
to spoil our kiss with reproaches.

I leave you; my soul is wrung;
I pause, look back from the portal–
Ah, I no more am young,
and you, child, are immortal!

Mine is the glacier’s way,
yours is the blossom’s weather–
When were December and May
known to be happy together?

Before my kisses grow tame,
before my moodiness grieve you,
While yet my heart is flame,
and I all lover, I leave you.

So, in the coming time,
when you count the rich years over,
Think of me in my prime,
and not as a white-haired lover.

Fretful, pierced with regret,
the wraith of dead Desire
Thrumming a cracked spinnet
by a slowly dying fire.

When, at last, I am cold–
years hence, if the gods so will it–
Say, "He was true as gold,"
and wear a rose in your fillet!

Others, tender as I,
will come and sue for carresses,
Woo you, win you, and die–
mind you, a rose in your tresses!

Some Melpomene woo,
some hold Clio nearest;
You, sweet Comedy–you
were ever sweetest and dearest!

Nay, it is time to go–
when writing your tragic sister
Say to that child of woe
how sorry I was I missed her.

Really, I cannot stay,
though "parting is such sweet sorrow" . . .
Perhaps I will, on my way
down-town, look in to-morrow!

The Married Lover

Why, having won her, do I woo?
Because her spirit’s vestal grace
Provokes me always to pursue,
But, spirit-like, eludes embrace;
Because her womanhood is such
That, as on court-days subjects kiss
The Queen’s hand, yet so near a touch
Affirms no mean familiarness;
Nay, rather marks more fair the height
Which can with safety so neglect
To dread, as lower ladies might,
That grace could meet with disrespect;
Thus she with happy favour feeds
Allegiance from a love so high
That thence no false conceit proceeds
Of difference bridged, or state put by;
Because although in act and word
As lowly as a wife can be,
Her manners, when they call me lord,
Remind me ’tis by courtesy;
Not with her least consent of will,
Which would my proud affection hurt,
But by the noble style that still
Imputes an unattain’d desert;
Because her gay and lofty brows,
When all is won which hope can ask,
Reflect a light of hopeless snows
That bright in virgin ether bask;
Because, though free of the outer court
I am, this Temple keeps its shrine
Sacred to Heaven; because, in short,
She ‘s not and never can be mine.

Self-Portrait

After Adam Zagajewski

I am child to no one, mother to a few,
wife for the long haul.
On fall days I am happy
with my dying brethren, the leaves,
but in spring my head aches
from the flowery scents.
My husband fills a room with Mozart
which I turn off, embracing
the silence as if it were an empty page
waiting for me alone to fill it.
He digs in the black earth
with his bare hands. I scrub it
from the creases of his skin, longing
for the kind of perfection
that happens in books.
My house is my only heaven.
A red dog sleeps at my feet, dreaming
of the manic wings of flushed birds.
As the road shortens ahead of me
I look over my shoulder
to where it curves back
to childhood, its white line
bisecting the real and the imagined
the way the ridgepole of the spine
divides the two parts of the body, leaving
the soft belly in the center
vulnerable to anything.
As for my country, it blunders along
as well intentioned as Eve choosing
cider and windfalls, oblivious
to the famine soon to come.
I stir pots, bury my face in books, or hold
a telephone to my ear as if its cord
were the umbilicus of the world
whose voices still whisper to me
even after they have left their bodies.

The Happiest Day

It was early May, I think
a moment of lilac or dogwood
when so many promises are made
it hardly matters if a few are broken.
My mother and father still hovered
in the background, part of the scenery
like the houses I had grown up in,
and if they would be torn down later
that was something I knew
but didn’t believe. Our children were asleep
or playing, the youngest as new
as the new smell of the lilacs,
and how could I have guessed
their roots were shallow
and would be easily transplanted.
I didn’t even guess that I was happy.
The small irritations that are like salt
on melon were what I dwelt on,
though in truth they simply
made the fruit taste sweeter.
So we sat on the porch
in the cool morning, sipping
hot coffee. Behind the news of the day–
strikes and small wars, a fire somewhere–
I could see the top of your dark head
and thought not of public conflagrations
but of how it would feel on my bare shoulder.
If someone could stop the camera then…
if someone could only stop the camera
and ask me: are you happy?
perhaps I would have noticed
how the morning shone in the reflected
color of lilac. Yes, I might have said
and offered a steaming cup of coffee.

Shame

It is a cramped little state with no foreign policy,
Save to be thought inoffensive. The grammar of the language
Has never been fathomed, owing to the national habit
Of allowing each sentence to trail off in confusion.
Those who have visited Scusi, the capital city,
Report that the railway-route from Schuldig passes
Through country best described as unrelieved.
Sheep are the national product. The faint inscription
Over the city gates may perhaps be rendered,
"I’m afraid you won’t find much of interest here."
Census-reports which give the population
As zero are, of course, not to be trusted,
Save as reflecting the natives’ flustered insistence
That they do not count, as well as their modest horror
Of letting one’s sex be known in so many words.
The uniform grey of the nondescript buildings, the absence
Of churches or comfort-stations, have given observers
An odd impression of ostentatious meanness,
And it must be said of the citizens (muttering by
In their ratty sheepskins, shying at cracks in the sidewalk)
That they lack the peace of mind of the truly humble.
The tenor of life is careful, even in the stiff
Unsmiling carelessness of the border-guards
And douaniers, who admit, whenever they can,
Not merely the usual carloads of deodorant
But gypsies, g-strings, hasheesh, and contraband pigments.
Their complete negligence is reserved, however,
For the hoped-for invasion, at which time the happy people
(Sniggering, ruddily naked, and shamelessly drunk)
Will stun the foe by their overwhelming submission,
Corrupt the generals, infiltrate the staff,
Usurp the throne, proclaim themselves to be sun-gods,
And bring about the collapse of the whole empire.

Inferno Canto 01

Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita
mi ritrovai per una selva oscura
ché la diritta via era smarrita .

When I had journeyed half of our life’s way,
I found myself within a shadowed forest,
for I had lost the path that does not stray.

Ahi quanto a dir qual era è cosa dura
esta selva selvaggia e aspra e forte
che nel pensier rinova la paura !

Ah, it is hard to speak of what it was,
that savage forest, dense and difficult,
which even in recall renews my fear:

Tant’è amara che poco è più morte;
ma per trattar del ben ch’i’ vi trovai,
dirò de l’altre cose ch’i’ v’ho scorte .

so bitter-death is hardly more severe!
But to retell the good discovered there,
I’ll also tell the other things I saw.

Io non so ben ridir com’i’ v’intrai,
tant’era pien di sonno a quel punto
che la verace via abbandonai .

I cannot clearly say how I had entered
the wood; I was so full of sleep just at
the point where I abandoned the true path.

Ma poi ch’i’ fui al piè d’un colle giunto,
là dove terminava quella valle
che m’avea di paura il cor compunto ,

But when I’d reached the bottom of a hill-
it rose along the boundary of the valley
that had harassed my heart with so much fear-

guardai in alto, e vidi le sue spalle
vestite già de’ raggi del pianeta
che mena dritto altrui per ogne calle .

I looked on high and saw its shoulders clothed
already by the rays of that same planet
which serves to lead men straight along all roads.

Allor fu la paura un poco queta
che nel lago del cor m’era durata
la notte ch’i’ passai con tanta pieta .

At this my fear was somewhat quieted;
for through the night of sorrow I had spent,
the lake within my heart felt terror present.

E come quei che con lena affannata
uscito fuor del pelago a la riva
si volge a l’acqua perigliosa e guata ,

And just as he who, with exhausted breath,
having escaped from sea to shore, turns back
to watch the dangerous waters he has quit,

così l’animo mio, ch’ancor fuggiva,
si volse a retro a rimirar lo passo
che non lasciò già mai persona viva .

so did my spirit, still a fugitive,
turn back to look intently at the pass
that never has let any man survive.

Poi ch’èi posato un poco il corpo lasso,
ripresi via per la piaggia diserta,
sì che ‘l piè fermo sempre era ‘l più basso .

I let my tired body rest awhile.
Moving again, I tried the lonely slope-
my firm foot always was the one below.

Ed ecco, quasi al cominciar de l’erta,
una lonza leggera e presta molto,
che di pel macolato era coverta ;

And almost where the hillside starts to rise-
look there!-a leopard, very quick and lithe,
a leopard covered with a spotted hide.

e non mi si partia dinanzi al volto,
anzi ‘mpediva tanto il mio cammino,
ch’i’ fui per ritornar più volte vòlto .

He did not disappear from sight, but stayed;
indeed, he so impeded my ascent
that I had often to turn back again.

Temp’era dal principio del mattino,
e ‘l sol montava ‘n sù con quelle stelle
ch’eran con lui quando l’amor divino

The time was the beginning of the morning;
the sun was rising now in fellowship
with the same stars that had escorted it

mosse di prima quelle cose belle;
sì ch’a bene sperar m’era cagione
di quella fiera a la gaetta pelle

when Divine Love first moved those things of beauty;
so that the hour and the gentle season
gave me good cause for hopefulness on seeing

l’ora del tempo e la dolce stagione;
ma non sì che paura non mi desse
la vista che m’apparve d’un leone .

that beast before me with his speckled skin;
but hope was hardly able to prevent
the fear I felt when I beheld a lion.

Questi parea che contra me venisse
con la test’alta e con rabbiosa fame,
sì che parea che l’aere ne tremesse .

His head held high and ravenous with hunger-
even the air around him seemed to shudder-
this lion seemed to make his way against me.

Ed una lupa, che di tutte brame
sembiava carca ne la sua magrezza,
e molte genti fé già viver grame ,

And then a she-wolf showed herself; she seemed
to carry every craving in her leanness;
she had already brought despair to many.

questa mi porse tanto di gravezza
con la paura ch’uscia di sua vista,
ch’io perdei la speranza de l’altezza .

The very sight of her so weighted me
with fearfulness that I abandoned hope
of ever climbing up that mountain slope.

E qual è quei che volontieri acquista,
e giugne ‘l tempo che perder lo face,
che ‘n tutt’i suoi pensier piange e s’attrista ;

Even as he who glories while he gains
will, when the time has come to tally loss,
lament with every thought and turn despondent,

tal mi fece la bestia sanza pace,
che, venendomi ‘ncontro, a poco a poco
mi ripigneva là dove ‘l sol tace .

so was I when I faced that restless beast
which, even as she stalked me, step by step
had thrust me back to where the sun is speechless.

Mentre ch’i’ rovinava in basso loco,
dinanzi a li occhi mi si fu offerto
chi per lungo silenzio parea fioco .

While I retreated down to lower ground,
before my eyes there suddenly appeared
one who seemed faint because of the long silence.

Quando vidi costui nel gran diserto,
«Miserere di me», gridai a lui,
«qual che tu sii, od ombra od omo certo !».

When I saw him in that vast wilderness,
"Have pity on me," were the words I cried,
"whatever you may be-a shade, a man."

Rispuosemi: «Non omo, omo già fui,
e li parenti miei furon lombardi,
mantoani per patria ambedui .

He answered me: "Not man; I once was man.
Both of my parents came from Lombardy,
and both claimed Mantua as native city.

Nacqui sub Iulio, ancor che fosse tardi,
e vissi a Roma sotto ‘l buono Augusto
nel tempo de li dèi falsi e bugiardi .

And I was born, though late, sub Julio,
and lived in Rome under the good Augustus-
the season of the false and lying gods.

Poeta fui, e cantai di quel giusto
figliuol d’Anchise che venne di Troia,
poi che ‘l superbo Ilión fu combusto .

I was a poet, and I sang the righteous
son of Anchises who had come from Troy
when flames destroyed the pride of Ilium.

Ma tu perché ritorni a tanta noia?
perché non sali il dilettoso monte
ch’è principio e cagion di tutta gioia? ».

But why do you return to wretchedness?
Why not climb up the mountain of delight,
the origin and cause of every joy?"

«Or se’ tu quel Virgilio e quella fonte
che spandi di parlar sì largo fiume?»,
rispuos’io lui con vergognosa fronte .

"And are you then that Virgil, you the fountain
that freely pours so rich a stream of speech?"
I answered him with shame upon my brow.

«O de li altri poeti onore e lume
vagliami ‘l lungo studio e ‘l grande amore
che m’ha fatto cercar lo tuo volume .

"O light and honor of all other poets,
may my long study and the intense love
that made me search your volume serve me now.

Tu se’ lo mio maestro e ‘l mio autore;
tu se’ solo colui da cu’ io tolsi
lo bello stilo che m’ha fatto onore .

You are my master and my author, you-
the only one from whom my writing drew
the noble style for which I have been honored.

Vedi la bestia per cu’ io mi volsi:
aiutami da lei, famoso saggio,
ch’ella mi fa tremar le vene e i polsi ».

You see the beast that made me turn aside;
help me, o famous sage, to stand against her,
for she has made my blood and pulses shudder,"

«A te convien tenere altro viaggio»,
rispuose poi che lagrimar mi vide,
«se vuo’ campar d’esto loco selvaggio :

"It is another path that you must take,"
he answered when he saw my tearfulness,
"if you would leave this savage wilderness;

ché questa bestia, per la qual tu gride,
non lascia altrui passar per la sua via,
ma tanto lo ‘mpedisce che l’uccide ;

the beast that is the cause of your outcry
allows no man to pass along her track,
but blocks him even to the point of death;

e ha natura sì malvagia e ria,
che mai non empie la bramosa voglia,
e dopo ‘l pasto ha più fame che pria .

her nature is so squalid, so malicious
that she can never sate her greedy will;
when she has fed, she’s hungrier than ever.

Molti son li animali a cui s’ammoglia,
e più saranno ancora, infin che ‘l veltro
verrà, che la farà morir con doglia .

She mates with many living souls and shall
yet mate with many more, until the Greyhound
arrives, inflicting painful death on her.

Questi non ciberà terra né peltro,
ma sapienza, amore e virtute,
e sua nazion sarà tra feltro e feltro .

That Hound will never feed on land or pewter,
but find his fare in wisdom, love, and virtue;
his place of birth shall be between two felts.

Di quella umile Italia fia salute
per cui morì la vergine Cammilla,
Eurialo e Turno e Niso di ferute .

He will restore low-lying Italy for which
the maid Camilla died of wounds,
and Nisus, Turnus, and Euryalus.

Questi la caccerà per ogne villa,
fin che l’avrà rimessa ne lo ‘nferno,
là onde ‘nvidia prima dipartilla .

And he will hunt that beast through every city
until he thrusts her back again to Hell,
for which she was first sent above by envy.

Ond’io per lo tuo me’ penso e discerno
che tu mi segui, e io sarò tua guida,
e trarrotti di qui per loco etterno ,

Therefore, I think and judge it best for you
to follow me, and I shall guide you, taking
you from this place through an eternal place,

ove udirai le disperate strida,
vedrai li antichi spiriti dolenti,
ch’a la seconda morte ciascun grida ;

where you shall hear the howls of desperation
and see the ancient spirits in their pain,
as each of them laments his second death;

e vederai color che son contenti
nel foco, perché speran di venire
quando che sia a le beate genti .

and you shall see those souls who are content
within the fire, for they hope to reach-
whenever that may be-the blessed people.

A le quai poi se tu vorrai salire,
anima fia a ciò più di me degna:
con lei ti lascerò nel mio partire ;

If you would then ascend as high as these,
a soul more worthy than I am will guide you;
I’ll leave you in her care when I depart,

ché quello imperador che là sù regna,
perch’i’ fu’ ribellante a la sua legge,
non vuol che ‘n sua città per me si vegna .

because that Emperor who reigns above,
since I have been rebellious to His law,
will not allow me entry to His city.

In tutte parti impera e quivi regge;
quivi è la sua città e l’alto seggio:
oh felice colui cu’ ivi elegge! ».

He governs everywhere, but rules from there;
there is His city, His high capital:
o happy those He chooses to be there!"

E io a lui: «Poeta, io ti richeggio
per quello Dio che tu non conoscesti,
acciò ch’io fugga questo male e peggio ,

And I replied: "O poet-by that God
whom you had never come to know-I beg you,
that I may flee this evil and worse evils,

che tu mi meni là dov’or dicesti,
sì ch’io veggia la porta di san Pietro
e color cui tu fai cotanto mesti ».

to lead me to the place of which you spoke,
that I may see the gateway of Saint Peter
and those whom you describe as sorrowful."

Allor si mosse, e io li tenni dietro.

Then he set out, and I moved on behind him.

Round And Round

After a long and wretched flight
That stretched from daylight into night,
Where babies wept and tempers shattered
And the plane lurched and whiskey splattered
Over my plastic food, I came
To claim my bags from Baggage Claim

Around, the carousel went around
The anxious travelers sought and found
Their bags, intact or gently battered,
But to my foolish eyes what mattered
Was a brave suitcase, red and small,
That circled round, not mine at all.

I knew that bag. It must be hers.
We hadnt met in seven years!
And as the metal plates squealed and clattered
My happy memories chimed and chattered.
An old man pulled it of the Claim.
My bags appeared: I did the same.