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As the resident poet at EcoHealth Alliance, my verse finds inspiration these days in the spectre of future pandemics. For my dissertation at LMU's Amerika-Institut, I'm anatomizing the poetics of E. A. Robinson's sonnets. I also teach English at Münchner Volkshochschule and lead the Amerikahaus Literary Circle.


Purgatorio, XXXI, 64-90

by Dante Alighieri
Translated by Allen Mandelbaum

  As children, when ashamed, will stand, their eyes

upon the groundthey listen, silently,
acknowledging their fault repentantly
  so did I stand; and she enjoined me:  "Since
hearing alone makes you grieve so, lift up
your beard, and sight will bring you greater tears."
  There's less resistance in the sturdy oak
to its uprooting by a wind from lands
of ours or lands of Iarbas than I showed
  in lifting up my chin at her command;
I knew quite wellwhen she said "beard" but meant
my facethe poison in her argument.
  When I had raised my face upright, my eyes
were able to perceive that the first creatures
had paused and were no longer scattering flowers;
  and still uncertain of itself, my vision
saw Beatrice turned toward the animal
that is, with its two natures, but one person.
  Beneath her veil, beyond the stream, she seemed
so to surpass her former self in beauty
as, here on earth, she had surpassed all others.
  The nettle of remorse so stung me then,
that thoseamong all otherthings that once
most lured my love, became most hateful to me,
  Such self-indictment seized my heart that I
collapsed, my senses slack; what I became
is known to her who was the cause of it.

Note:  A recitation can be heard here.

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