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From Dante


Guido, I want you and Giorgio and me
To dig a ditch just by singing
And mess around in a boat, which at every wind
Goes flying o’er the sea to your wish and mine.
Bad Luck, laughing all the while,
Cannot throw big rocks at my feet, but
Ouch! it hurts always living by your talent,
To stand always inside a crescendo!
And the moonlight hits two mountains
Like the number 50 coming in for a landing
And shining with our great songs,
For I have a reason to love you always,
Each one in his ditch contented,
As I think we all soon will be.



From that lady I see a gentle shiver
Go through all the passing saints
And our almost springlike snow
Falls like daytime on a broad lake.
From her eyes a light shines out
Like a little squint of flames
And I grow red hot like a cherry
And look—now I’m an angel.
On the day you say hello
With a piano in your kind attitude
You’ll stab us to the heart with virtue
And the sky’ll open up like a soprano
And your gaze will come across the earth
Like the infinite closeness of wind.



One day Melancholy came back to me
And said, “I want to stay with you a while.”
And it seemed she had brought along
Grief and Rage as company.
And I said, “Go away!”
And she fell upon me like a Greek
And raged in my great head,
Made me look at Love arriving
Dressed again in that black curtain
And on her head a little chapel
And certainly pure glass tears
That made me cry, “I too have one bad thought
That, sweet brother, kills our love and makes us die.”