Infernos Window (The Windows of Santa Sibylla)
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Maria, Lucia, Beatrice. Cool and white and soothing, so far away. He quickly turned me round and put his own hands over my eyes, Just to be sure, Use your eyes, how useful, Anyone clever enough to see the hidden meaning in my verse, look now, A clue: it's either Orpheus or Perseus And just at that moment, coming over the horizon, the cavalry, A noise to tremble both banks, of gale, khamsin, sirocco, Laying down the forest like hedgehog quills.
The previous wrathful inhabitants of the swamp, Like frogs running from a water snake, scatter and cower at the bottom, And he came, walking the Styx, his feet dry on the water, clever how he does it, His left hand fanned the air away as if he disliked the foul smell, but this was all, No words to us, The Heavenly Messenger, an Archangel, I looked to Virgil, he made a sign of silence And bow, down, go on, hit the ground with forehead.
Scornful, the Heavenly Messenger reached the gate touched it, instantly flew open, Open Sesame, the blast of the shofar to bust Jericho, He spoke to the disobedient inside:. With this insolence you constantly harbour You only give yourselves greater suffering.
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You persist in fighting against a will that cannot be denied. Cerberus is still licking his wounds. Pavlovian conditioning doesn't appear to be working here, Or perhaps only visible over a timescale longer than long. They butt their heads regularly, and suffer for it. Learn not to sin, that's a minimalist start. And still without a single word to us, he went back the way he had come, As if detached from the present place he was.
We didn't seem worthy.
The Story of Florence, by Edmund G. Gardner.
The impasse sorted, our siege successful, we entered the city, Keen to see more, now that they had finally gained entry,. But I was struck by the image:. To go directly to Hell from the 13th century Is to be reprovisioned with that classical nourishment, irony. If I could only package it up and sell it The covers ajar, I couldn't see the souls, but they were there, For under the lids came screams as they were cooked. Between the ramparts and the screams, A clandestine path, picked by Virgil and all his Fortuna, Followed by me. So to our left, the impervious justice, While to our right,.
Sopranino, baritono, The anonymous several caught up in machinery, In lime before their time, The alkali to their bones steeped, stopped, Several more incandescent, doused with petrol And by God's inevitable recipe, set on gas mark eight. So why can't we have a peek over the red braided rope, Since there's nobody actually looking, The lids ajar, allowing this Just so I can get a better idea. Some of the lids are open, awaiting their occupants, And will be shut forever when they arrive From the vale of Josaphat, where the judgement will be, It is only their spirits here at the moment.
Which doesn't actually answer the question, You've got to want to see someone cooked. I kicked a pebble against, the devil made me do it, To ding the earthenware as a cloche, glasshouse, hothouse, Terracotta to remind of the roofs with their laundry, The ochres and the Arno. I had dealings with that city, once.
Lord and it's Lord Snooty By the workings of glottis and phoneme, by fricative consonants, he's worked it out. Pinpointed to the street, almost. And never say the upper classes don't know where they come from. Off balance, I edged closer to Virgil,. Farinata di Jacopo degli Uberti.
Who died a year before I was born, I've read about him, He went to the right school, he was the Ghibelline blue-blood, He's risen like risen Christ, As far as his waist, anyway. Tall, disdainful, that puffed-out chest, He was in Hell, but wasn't going to let that disturb him overly, He had been taught to take his due share. Virgil pushed me towards him. Farinata looked me up and down,. I went through my affiliations, the history weighed on me From family ties. If you'll excuse me for pointing out, something your side didn't achieve, You do realise they demolished all the Guelph palaces When they regained power Just as your side had done after Montaperti to them.
He did speak of this Machiavelli. A Florentine, I understood him to mean, either one of his advisors, Or, and this is a more reckless idea, a creature of times to come. He seemed very taken with this Machiavelli, But in his flights of rhetoric, too absorbed to notice our attention had moved on. Another shade had made himself known. This one poking his nose out from his jar, he looked around As if he expected, Hoped To see someone else with us. This one I knew, straight away, his place classified him, Cavalcante de' Cavalcanti His son was given as political marriage to Farinata's daughter, Forced to meet and greet at feasts, And now trapped next to his in-law for eternity.
He had his chance, I'm sure he did, the great poet he was, Perhaps your Guido didn't set his intellect towards the Lord.
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You've never heard of Machiavelli, what do they teach you people,. And when they wanted to burn and ransack Florence, I disagreed, spoke out in council at the time. I did I don't particularly hold a grudge in this, Before I was born, after all And maybe your descendants and mine can live in peace.
And, if you think about it, the future will constrict, The window will close, ready for the Judgment, The lid comes over and we'll be cemented in. So they're here, and, providing they are educated men, they know everything that's happened. Some of them seem to know something of the future, In the flow of time, but kinks and coils give them glimpses, They would be able to tell me of flying machines or automatic men, If I could just understand more fully. Knowledge is key,. He started at the top of the Court Circular of course, But he was dropping back into his heretic's tomb And gone.
Suggesting I was trying to learn it all here, From the dubious mouths of heretics and not from Divine Wisdom, Too quickly for my own good. No right turn, we left the walls, further into the sixth circle, A broad stench, rotting, decayed. Something that used to be alive. Pope Anastasius. General Description of Inferno. The battle is to go down. Always 'gainst the prevailing, the boulders jagged, biting against virtue And blasted by the ammonia from below, Heaven's down, remember, remember, The struggle is to gain depth.
Here will lie Anastasius for eternity A Pope lured away. Here I lie, one who tried to reconcile Eastern and Western Churches, The Byzantine and Roman factions, But conceded too much to the heretics in my attempt. Sometimes you have to stand for what you believe in, And sometimes, it's best to play a more political game, Even Popes, definitely Popes, don't always win the struggle. Inside the ring of boulders are three more circles, Concentric down, many souls, Maybe it's not enough to see them and be among them, so an overview, So that you know in advance and understand their punishments, Also the appropriacy as we go.
Every sin has as its end injustice.
It harms someone else, either through violence or fraud. Fraud is peculiar to humans, God hates it therefore. Lower down, heavier punishment, But the first of these three circles is:. Strutting, the ring-girl with her board held up - round 7, The Violent: It's phylum, genus, and taxonomy, he pins them for dissection Does Virgil, almost a soul-collector in his own right. Violent against others - Robbers, banditi, marauders, all their group,. Violent against their selves - Suicides, Gamblers who throw away their wealth And weep to see their debt never repaid, Too weak to resist the roulette.
Moving on, Fraud, which bites the conscience, can be used against Those who trust, Those who have no special trust, Fraud is a destroyer of the bonds Nature provides between humans,. Sotto voce, myself - if utterly misconstrued. And Paris, presumably, Don Giovanni definitely, fallen all the way down from Sevilla, All the whoremasters, whoremongers in all the world, and all the procuresses.
We stopped to ponder. He'd laid it all out, Those that can still work, to work - all the others straight to the Cyclone. What I have a difficulty with is, well, these divisions, as compared with what we are taught about the ineffable nature of God. If they've sinned and God is angry to punish them, Their offence is identical, yet they seem to get off more lightly, Isn't God's wrath total - and doesn't take a qualifier From the overly-enunciated tones, the great, established, Roman misses my point.
Incontinence, Malice and Barbarity, Incontinence is the lesser evil. Here, there is no malice aforethought. Just as with the legal concept, mens rea, a guilty act requires a guilty mind. So these are the lesser punished. This we can visualise as a passivity, a weakness, kept outside the city of Dis, as we have recently seen. Malice is the next step down, the active principle taking over. It is, in fact, the material demonstration of Divine Order. In Aristotle again, the Physics, as a theory, very near the beginning.
As a theory, but the Christian way is to accept the correctness of the proposition as an article of faith So we have God, Nature, Your life, in that order, Your life should take its instruction from Nature, with you becoming the grandchild of God, and always remaining in tune with that Order.
And so by Nature, you gain your daily bread, just as it says in Genesis. By the sweat of the brow, by the dust of harvest, an honest day's work for an honest day's pay. Except the usurer doesn't do that. He or she earns by little work, having imposed unnatural rules of their own devising. They prey specifically on the weakness - this in itself a manifestation of sin - of their debtors, often to the extent of trickery.
You feel a natural anger at this, don't you? And so does God. Genesis is the beginning, The nascence, back to that. And as for Exodus? The best way down this slope is further on. It's not far - I'm ready if you are Go, rucksacks to the back, plod on, go, ice-axes at the ready, Virgil couldn't actually see the stars - because there weren't any stars. The Seventh Circle: The Violent. Chaos, entropy. When he saw us, it seemed to create a frenzy in the monster He bit himself, selfharms, crazy,.