Readers of The Word in the Wilderness, my compilation of a poem a day for Lent, will know that all this coming week we are sharing our Lenten Pilgrimage with Dante. Now in that book I have alternated 3 passages from Robin Kirkpatrick’s brilliant new translation of the Commedia with 3 poems from my own sequence of nine poems ‘On Reading the Comedia’, which comes at the end of my book The Singing Bowl. As readers of The Word in the Wilderness make that journey this week I thought some of them might be interested in the full sequence from which my three poems were taken and would perhaps like to hear me read them, so I am reposting that sequence on this blog, starting today with the opening poem In Medias Res, itself a response to the opening of Dante’s poem, which opens ‘in the middle of the path of our life’
If English readers would like to buy my books from a proper bookshop Sarum College Bookshop here in the UK always have it in stock.
I am happy to announce to North American readers that copies of The Singing Bowl and my other books are readily available from Steve Bell Here
As with other posts I have read it onto ‘audio boom’ so you can hear it by clicking on the ‘play’ button or the title
And so I start again, here in the middle,
The middle of a life I scarcely know,
How many guesses left to get the riddle?
The woods are dark and darker shadows grow.
I followed someone here, but lost her leading,
With nothing but my lostness left to show.
The voice that drew me on is faint and fading
But something else is creeping up behind
Over whose heart, I wonder, are we treading?
My shadow-beasts can scent, though they are blind
All three are here, the leopard, lion, wolf,
My kith and kin, the emblems of my kind.
They’ve come to draw me back across the gulf
Back from the path I wanted to have chosen.
Fall back, they call, you can’t run from yourself
Fall to the place where every hope is frozen…
But not his time, this time I choose to choose
The other path, path of the dead and risen,
To try the hidden heart of things, to let go, lose,
To lose myself and find again the voice
That called and drew me here, my freeing muse.
Begin again she calls, you have the choice,
Little by little, you can travel far,
Learn to lament before you can rejoice
Sing to the shadows, sing and do not fear
But sing them into love little by little
Begin the song exactly where you are.
And so I start again here in the middle