Into the Inferno

October 19, 2015 § Leave a comment

When I went back to school, I began amassing various literary texts in anticipation of taking the dreaded Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Most of those texts I never got around to reading. However, one text I did read (actually, three) was an English translation of Dante’s Inferno.

After reading a Facebook post from one of my friends from my graduate school days, I got to thinking about literature in general (especially how much of it I have not read) and about Dante’s Inferno in particular. When I stopped thinking about it, this is what I ended up with (apologies to the spirit of Dante Alighieri):

Dante’s Inferno

When Dante said to Virgil, “Won’t you be my guide?
I have to know what lies there on the other side.”
Virgil said, “Think before you cross into the shade.
That’s where the back door deals are made
And honest thoughts begin to fade.”

Virgil said, “If you’re ready, come along with me
And I will show you things that few should ever see.
Cross with me, if you dare, beyond the gates of Hell
Sad is the story I will tell
Of how the proud and mighty fell.”

Here there are stories of avarice and greed
Of those who killed for love to fill a desperate need
Stories of those who had so much and would not share
And those who simply did not care

So Dante followed Virgil to the other side
Virgil said, “Follow close, and I will be your guide.
You’ll see the darkness that can live in people’s hearts.
And once the light inside departs
That’s when the double-dealing starts.”

Dante could see the torment in his teacher’s eyes
A pain beyond all knowing he could not disguise
“If you’d avoid a fate like that of which I’ve told
Then never let your heart grow cold
By only chasing after gold.”

I’ve learned that fame and fortune both are fleeting things
A dollar doesn’t give the joy a sunrise brings
Even the simplest man has wealth beyond compare
Look around, it’s everywhere

If there’s a moral to the story that I tell
Beware the choice that sets you on the road to Hell
It’s hard to change direction once the choice is made
Some debts can never be repaid
Once the devil’s plans are laid

Sometimes the fire inside us burns out of control
And passion fans the flame that lays waste to our soul
Desire’s a mistress who is so hard to refuse
So much to risk, so much to lose.

© 2015 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.

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