Dante at 56

Little magazines, poetry publishers, the literary community... I say yes to all of them.  Heck, I co-edited & published a little magazine for 10 years (Nedge); I spent at least 5 years trying to promote a local literary non-profit (the Poetry Mission).  The fact that I put a lot of my poetry on this blog is not evidence that I am some naturally cantankerous, nay-saying misanthrope.  No way.  I may be a little feisty - I think I get this from my mother, who is very feisty.  I may at times be cutting & sarcastic (this is all me, not my mother).

But I do not avoid magazines on principle - in fact, I received another rejection notice just now!  No, I put out a lot of poetry on this blog because the kind of drivel I'm writing is in fact very suited to the blog set-up.  Ravenna Diagram, for example, is an ongoing serial poem, sometimes quite diaristic & occasional (ie. responding to the "occasions" of the day).

Today's entry is an example, as have been several posts of late.  Dante died on this day 694 years ago, in 1321, at the age of 56.  Some scholars (the jury is out) have taken a position which entails that Alighieri & I share a birthday (May 29th).  So I am already 7 years older (& almost 700 years later) than Dante was, when he died - having completed his Paradiso not long before.

I haven't completed any Paradise yet.  I have not "lifted the great acorn of light".  But Ravenna Diagram is a cat's-cradle all tangled up with Dante, among other things.  Here is today's report :


If we can shrink down small as Frisbee
the little leprechaun
from Arthur Street (in
Mendelssohn), we might just barely

wiggle through the lattice-work
of Erica’s Ferrara
cabinet (dove sta
memoria).  Such delicate

moss-green & gold!  Almost as bright
as your sea-iris – sun-
flecked, pregnant lens
of summer season (cave-light,

river-carved limestone... lakes
of glacier-deft sketches).
Time’s a yarn, that catches
history in quipu-knots.  Oak aches

for each acorn – the great light
diamondiale, that lifts
each person (infinite
è finit, unbreakable).  Slight

limp, unfinished manuscript...
slow clay, Mendelssohn
relief operation –
Berryman in Resurrection crypt

or Pound à Venice (perilous seat
in dolorous gondola)...
Dante sets down Ravenna
raven-feather (geste complete).


Tomb of Dante in Ravenna (courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

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