Dante, Inferno Canto 22 (4th part)

They looked back at the hiding place, turned and started to assess
But with one bound,
The one from Navarre took his chance,
Freed himself, evaded the claws,
Chasséed to the left, dodged right,
And made for the now safety of his punishment.

Calcabrina, knowing it was down to him, made a lunge but too late,
Wings into action, quicker, one, two beats, he’s close on him,

The sinner dived, hit the pitch, submerged,
And the devil skimmed onto nothing.

Talons missing by centimetres, curved up and away, the falcon thwarted,
The brute force defeated by the wily.

Calcabrina furious, not interested in the sinner now,
More interested in Alichino, this is all your fault, your fucking fault,
Alichino in return, my fault, how’s it my fault?
Demon on demon internecine,
Stepping towards, neither backing down, they met,
Fought, flurried, in a kicking scratching mess,
Rising to the air by wing beats, trying to get purchase,
Slip inside for biting, rending, entangled, wing caught on wing,

Both of them dropped, bang in the middle of the boiling pitch.

The shock of it split them, but no way they could get out.
Dragged against the clinging, surface, heave of wing going nowhere,
In the glue, they were stuck,
Reduced from mighty falcons, eagles even, to feeble flies.

Taking all of the other eight to extract the two,
Four flown round to haul from the other side,
Haul the cooked devils from the pitch’s grasp,
Bedraggled, soiled, disconsolate,
And the butt of the joke.

While we quietly took our cue to leave.

2 thoughts on “Dante, Inferno Canto 22 (4th part)

  1. Even if you have read the entire Dante epic, which I have, and loved it, which I have, reading this one small snippet reminds you of how forceful and magnificent a poet he was. I am absolutely in awe this morning. In awe. Thank you for reminding me.


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