17th November 2020
The Divine Poet From Florence
When Dante in years was but shy of nine,
to his father’s friend he went, celebrating May Day.
There seeing a girl he would wish, “be mine.”
But our young poet had no words to say,
though strange, new emotions filled the nascent artist’s head.
To fall in love, first sight, happened that way.
This delicate, pure angel, clothed in shades of red,
of love and pain both, would cause him tears,
“Now is my bliss made manifest”, he later said.
Entering into an unknown world, tender feelings, trembling fears
Though never a thought of the sacred marriage bed,
To her he ventured no word, for nine years.
In Florence, matters of the heart were left, unsaid
Our eloquent poet, inexperienced youth, smitten and struck dumb,
would later write sweetest words, that any lover read.
‘Behold, a god stronger than I that is come
to bear rule over me.” Words he later wrote.
Of all Christian virtues, this seraph is the sum.
Upon this paragon of innocence, young Dante would dote
But courtly love dictated she proffer not a glance,
yet celestial choirs, he did hear, sounding love’s note.
Beatrice was our young angel, Dante made no advance
but circled Florence, praying, of Beatrice, just a sight
following her sweet footsteps, hoping for just a chance.
He raised the worthy child up to heavenly heights.
Her beauty showed her virtue, pale skin, fair hair.
Her presence guided both working days and dreaming nights.
Feeling beatific knowing that his love had been there
He felt he should bow and kiss the ground,
When angels called and myriad flowers filled the air.
Yet he was to hear, a far, sweeter sound
When after nine years, he spied his cherished Muse
who, upon seeing Dante, did stop and turn around.
White dressed, but Dante saw flowers of all hues
she spoke with grace, with ineffable courtesy and charm.
Dante saw this providence as something he mustn’t lose.
He wrote all night till fatigue paralysed his arm,
then descended into dreams he knew so well.
A nebulous figure holding Beatrice, but meaning no harm.
She held a burning object, he would later tell
‘Behold thy heart.” The Vision said, making Beatrice eat
Before Paradise is Purgatory, before Purgatory, Infernal Hell.
After this they were destined rarely to ever meet.
Dante’s love was pure, and would forever remain chaste.
But fond memories of that salutation, on Florentine street.
Marriages were political, not to be made in haste,
they married different people and went their separate way
But Dante wouldn’t let this inspiration go to waste.
His marriage sailed stormy waters, the ship sailed away
to be trapped among the ice. Then Beatrice died.
To honour her, sought he, greater words to say.
His Beatrice gone, Dante wouldn’t drift with the tide,
but studied and wrote, to proclaim her name, far.
His new life where his love need not hide.
So when looking at the firmament, black as tar
search for two lights, whose flame shall shine eternal
as Dante placed his Beatrice, a wondrous, glowing star.