Abandon all hope, All who enter.
Hope, the defining feature of one’s whole,
no longer lies or belongs in this soul.
Hope belongs in the souls of living men.
I abandoned all hope when I entered,
for despair would leave my soul so tempered.
Trapped in Limbo, it’s calm and dreary.
There is nothing here with which I can write,
nor is there use for an artist’s insight.
Eternity’s power leaves me weary.
I never submitted to connivance,
yet I am forced to suffer and repent.
Beatrice showed, with her was redemption.
Not my own, but for a man named Dante.
Why our souls should care, I cannot say.
She requested for an intervention,
“I fear Dante may have strayed from his path.
Please help save him from God’s divine wrath!”
I thought to decline, but to help I should.
“Dear Beatrice, Dante is in good hands.
I shall act as his guide through the dark lands.”
I decided to venture to the woods.
Perhaps that is where this Dante would be,
though that would lead to the infernal sea.
Chance to prove my virtue sparks an ember
within my soul. Dante still has much to
provide, with a poets life to pursue.
The day may come when he shall remember
these sufferings with joy. Let us go forth.
A man with hope is one with endless worth.
While I may be far from salvation,
there is still much that this soul can get done.
Yes, this pagan soul can, in fact, save one.
Midway in their life’s journey, he went astray
from the straight road and woke to find himself
alone in a dark wood, heart on a shelf...
I ventured there to help him find his way.
There is perfection in imperfection,
What to make of that is ones selection.
I came across a frail looking shadow.
Dante, before me on the discolored air.
He gazed up at me with a dead man’s stare.
What he saw before him, he did not know.
Sight of me in that friendless waste he cried.
He had plead for pity and I replied:
“Not man, though man I once was, my kin
was Lombard, my parents Mantuan hewn.
I was born, though late, sub Julio, and been
in Rome under Augustus in the noon
of the false gods. I was a poems ploy
and sang of old Anchises’ noble son
who came to Rome after the burning of Troy.
But you-why do you return to these distresses
instead of climbing that shining Mount of Joy
which is the seat and first cause of man’s bliss?“
Dante and I continued discussing
his found place and why it has come to this.
Talking, Dante was all the more trusting.
He related to me as his master.
He asked for help for his soul lay rusting.
And behind, beasts stronger and faster
lay guard. Impassible, we go elsewhere
as the best way to guard Dante from her.
One, a she-wolf, was near for any who dare
to pass. Dante escaped and then we met.
But soon, his cries I found I could not bear.
But the task at hand I could not forget.
“We must take a new path around this
beast that waits to feast on all it can get.
Instead, I will take you through the abyss,
to which, if it is still your wish to climb,
a purer soul will guide you; one you miss.
With her shall I leave you for the King of Time,
ruler from high, forbidding me from there,
for I lived against his reason and rhyme.”
Salvation for I will be found nowhere.
Salvation for Dante though is not late.
And so I say: “Follow” and lead with care.
And though I accept that I have no fate,
I will guide him through this eternal gate.