Dante, Inferno Canto 22 (1st part)

Ciampolo, Friar Gomita, and Michael Zanche. The Malabranche quarrel.

Horses, silver on the withers plated, also with riders steeled,
I’ve seen, assembled to cavalry ranks by cornet boys,
Seen hunting parties eager to bust thickets in their whirlwind,
Plunging off to scent and blood by horn call,
The hue and cry, handbells, sticks, posse comitatus raised,
The piercing bosun’s whistle, planks lifted, anchor weighed,
Seen the panoply of tourneys, mantlings psychedelic, colour,
Excitement, launched by heralds’ fanfare, glittering trumpets,
The joust begins, a roll of drums and thudding hooves accelerate,
By clanging rail, the main event, melee, gnarled knights go one more time,
Time to go, all aboard, the chariot waiting for no man,
But nothing ever marshalled by a bugle like that.

So we had ten demons of Hell with us –
And just walked along, as if…
Right next to them, but that’s the way of it,
Go to a church and meet the saints,
Go to a tavern and meet the drunks,
Less distracted as we went, I tried to take the lesson of the pitch.
Maybe more, the lesson of the sinners there,
As they incessantly poach.

Dolphins gambol the surface of the sea – and may signal storms ahead,
Their games, their truths,
Every so often, look, there’s one over there,
Just to gain a moment of ease,
An arch rising, the briefest of a sinner’s back.

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