Friday, July 31, 2009

Dantean Equipoise

An old poem appropriate for Valentine's Day . . .

There is a great gulf fixed
Twixt Heav’n and Hell
Spanned only by a lonely Bridge of Light.
Poets say its struts and strands are made of angels bright.
Amongst them, one of Roman race,
Stained his quill that he might trace their flight.

He sought to view fair Paradise
Midway through his darkling wood,
Raised his head and strained his heart to see it, if he could.
Stare as he might, through starry night,
No pearl-faced gates he viewed,
No emerald-circled rainbow throne with heaven’s grace imbued.

His head bowed low, his weeping heart
Convulsed him at the thought,
That he, the poet, could not write the Bridge that Blood had bought.
‘Twas then that, in his sore despair, a voice beckoned his soul,
“Who is it there?” the poet asked, and then She said, “Behold!”

“I am Beatrice fair, thou lover of my soul,
“I am your Bridge to Paradise, Beautiful, Bright, and Bold.
“I am Heav’n come down, to wing your flight
“Across that bridge you seek,
“So sheathe thy quill and follow me. Be quiet, quick, and meek.”

At her firm word his stir-red soul arose from its despair,
And followed fast the Lady Fair who winged him through the air,
Up to the very throne of God where prostrate now he lay,
And heard another, stronger Voice, that hushed all others, say,

“How came ye, weary traveler? How came ye to this Place?”
“I was guided by Another,” saith he, “She of radiant face.”
“Ah, yes,” then did the Sovereign say, “Ah, yes, I know her well.
“Beatrice well has led the souls of many men from hell.”

At this the poet turned to her, gazed in her lovely face,
And said, “I thank thee, beauteous Lady Fair, who led me to His Grace.
“I thank thee, for thou art the Bridge of Light that poets told,
"Thou' art She who sav-ed me, imparadised my soul.:"

No comments: