Flight and Fall

Updated: Aug 18, 2021



1.

Angels gallop out of a dark wood.

The Poet gains ground.

He harangues their halting gait,

heaves near downy wings,

flutters like a marigold in gale.


Virgil nurtures an inward darkness,

trips on his Achilles heel,

traps pebbles in his shoes,

tears pages from the Aeneid, then weeps.

Angels wonder, When will we see home?


Fear not: the universal angelic greeting,

as Virgil sketches another bloody

battle scene. Woe to dozing Trojans.

Green boughs turn blue as angels

rocket skyward. O to soar again.


2.

I carry a copy of the Comedy in my back pocket.

It is my compass and companion, my inspiration

and rebuke, my dogeared guide to Paradise. My life

will imitate the arc of Ulysses in Canto 26, flight and fall.

One final step on the pilgrims’ path, free of stones.


The dark wood obscures the shape of trees. They join

hands to praise the victory of Being: the necessity to attack

the legions fleeing Troy, to bring home Helen and her splendor,

to libate the dead, to deny the glory of war. Hector dies

in squalor. Achilles falls on his sword. Angels flee, free of strife.


In the wood, I carve my initials on the roots of a towering oak.

I breathe the long lines of poetry beating in its breast. Song proves

glory enough. Enough nonsense in the heraldry of war. Enough

satisfaction in the passion of peace. Patria bequeaths only loss.

Angels dictate my epitaph: Choose life, or miserably fail to choose.






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