Dante, Inferno Canto 29 (1st part)

Geri del Bello. The Tenth Bolgia: Alchemists. Griffolino d’Arezzo and Capocchino.

The many people and their ghastly wounds,
So they now own mounts and rift valleys on their person,
The fascination of disfigurement observed, the otherness,
Did so paralyse the eyes,
And best they should apologise to the brain for any betrayal caused.
I was minded to mourn the people:

But Virgil:

—What are you staring at?
Why rapt on mutilated shades?
It’s been some time since you felt their pain….
So what of it…? … Hmm?
If you plan an audit, think carefully,
Twenty-two miles round this circle,
The time we are allotted soon expires,
The moon already lies beneath our feet
And there is more to see here than this.

Maybe if you could just stop a minute and let me be,
Maybe if you could just understand,
I have a life outside this, you know. You live here.

But he was still going, off to the next one, off to the next.
At the point ready to rebel and sit down, a flash of anger,
I, loath to keep up, but having to:

—I think I saw a relative back there.
Someone who had fallen to anger.

At which, he did stop:

—I know, you did. But let it go.
I saw him there as well,
He came and went while you were engrossed with old Bertram
And you missed him.
Geri del Bello, and if I’m not wrong,
He wasn’t very pleased.
He pointed straight at you, and gave out what he was going to do, when…

I never spoke to him when I had the chance…
I know, he is unavenged.
And I haven’t spoken to him, for a second time, when I had the chance,
He died violently – and no-one has avenged him,
I’m sure he isn’t too pleased with me,
It’s up to his family to take revenge, I don’t know how I will now.
And all the while Virgil kept walking.
We had had another of our fallings-out, fell to morose
And had to leave the matter behind.
Stickily, we talked the mundane various until the next pit,
Up, over the bridge,
And if the light had been better we might have seen the bottom,
But the moans were there.


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