October 17, 2007

Dante's Beatrice
Canto II

How long has she been dead, how many years
Raised to the light, set down among the saints
Confiding in each other as in life
About--what else?--a man who needs their help
More than he knows. And in the world below,
Despite the dark wood, "bitter, almost, as death,"
His life half over, if he's fortunate,
Dante constructs his Beatrice as she may--
No, must be--now that he is most in need:
"Blessed and beautiful" (she always was)
But more: a soul who turns when Lucy asks,
"Why won't you help him? Don't you hear his cries?"
Then listens past the music of the spheres--
That slow, celestial humming--for his voice.

—Ned Balbo
previously appeared in Ekphrasis

Posted by dwaber at 02:46 PM