Friday, April 3, 2015

" But when I came to stop
Below a hill that marked one end of the valley
That had pierced my heart with terror, I looked up

Toward the crest and saw its shoulders already
Mantled in rays of that bright planet that shows
The road to everyone, whatever our journey.

Then I could feel the terror begin to ease
That churned in my heart's lake all through the night.
As one still panting, ashore from dangerous seas,

Looks back a the deep he has escaped,"

                       Inferno from Canto 1
                                    Dante Pinsky trans.

 Our weather which has been unseasonably warm was 
interrupted by a skiff of winter snow last night. So I took 
these photos while out in the yard with the dogs on the
morning of Good Friday. My poetry selections are made
because I remember something that seems apt or because
I am reading some particular work at the time. Today
it is both, I have several translation, courses etc of Dante's
Divine Comedy and have been collecting
materials on him for years. So this afternoon while 
looking through Pinsky's translation I found a passage
 that seemed to fit my present mood. Eventually
it occurred to me that Dante sets the first Canto of the 
Inferno  on Good Friday of the year 1300. These connections
are one of the great joys that literature can bring to my life.
It was while looking through Longfellow's note to his translation
that I found the passage below on one of the end pages of my  
Routledge edition.

"How strange the sculptures that adorn these towers!
This crowd of statues, in whose folded sleeves
Birds build their nests; while canopied with leaves
Parvis and portal bloom like trellised bowers,
And the vast minster seems a cross of flowers!"

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


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