Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Donald Rumsfeld Celebrates National Poetry Month


"Through me the way is to the City of Woe;
  Through me the way is to eternal pain;
  Through me the way among the lost below.

Justice incited my sublime Creator;
  Created me divine Omnipotence,
  The highest Wisdom and the primal Love.

Before me there were no created things,
  Only eterne, and I eternal last.
  All hope abandon, ye who enter in!"

These words in sombre colour I beheld
  Written upon the summit of a gate;
  Whence I: "Their sense is, Master, hard to me!"

And he to me, as one experienced:
  "Here all suspicion needs must be abandoned,
  All cowardice must needs be here extinct.

We are come to the place I told thee to expect
  Where thou should see the people whom pain stings
  and who have lost the good of the intellect."

His hand upon mine, to uphold my falterings
  With looks of cheer that bade me comfort keep,
  He led me on into the secret things.

Here lamentations, groans, and wailings deep
  Resounded through the starless air,
  So that it made me at the beginning weep.

Uncouth tongues, horrible chatterings of despair,
  Shrill and faint cries, words of grief, tones of rage,
  And, with it all, smiting of hands, were there,

Making a tumult that nothing could assuage
  To swirl in the air that knows not day or night,
  Like sand within the whirlwind's eddying cage.

And I, who had my head with horror bound,
  Said: "Master, what is this which now I hear?
  What folk is this, which seems by pain so vanquished?"

And he to me: "These miserable ways
 The forlorn spirits endure of those who spent
 Life without infamy and without praise.

Commingled are they with that caitiff choir
  Of Angels, who have not rebellious been,
  Nor faithful were to God, but were for self.

Heavens chased themm forth, lest, being there, they cloud
It's beauty, and the deep Hell refuses them
For, beside these, the wicked might be proud."

And I: "O Master, what so grievous is
  To these, that maketh them lament so sore?"
  He answered: "I will tell thee very briefly.

These have no longer any hope of death;
  And this blind life of theirs is so debased,
  That they are envious of all others' fate.

No fame of them the world permits to be;
  Misericord and Justice both disdain them.
  Let us not speak of them, but look, and pass."

And I, who looked again, beheld a banner,
  Which, whirling round, ran on so rapidly,
  That of all pause it seemed to me indignant;

And after it there came so long a train
  Of people, that I ne'er would have believed
  That Death so great a legion had undone.