Dante Alighieri

(1265 - 1321 / Florence / Italy)

Sestina - Poem by Dante Alighieri

I have come, alas, to the great circle of shadow,
to the short day and to the whitening hills,
when the colour is all lost from the grass,
though my desire will not lose its green,
so rooted is it in this hardest stone,
that speaks and feels as though it were a woman.

And likewise this heaven-born woman
stays frozen, like the snow in shadow,
and is unmoved, or moved like a stone,
by the sweet season that warms all the hills,
and makes them alter from pure white to green,
so as to clothe them with the flowers and grass.

When her head wears a crown of grass
she draws the mind from any other woman,
because she blends her gold hair with the green
so well that Amor lingers in their shadow,
he who fastens me in these low hills,
more certainly than lime fastens stone.

Her beauty has more virtue than rare stone.
The wound she gives cannot be healed with grass,
since I have travelled, through the plains and hills,
to find my release from such a woman,
yet from her light had never a shadow
thrown on me, by hill, wall, or leaves’ green.

I have seen her walk all dressed in green,
so formed she would have sparked love in a stone,
that love I bear for her very shadow,
so that I wished her, in those fields of grass,
as much in love as ever yet was woman,
closed around by all the highest hills.

The rivers will flow upwards to the hills
before this wood, that is so soft and green,
takes fire, as might ever lovely woman,
for me, who would choose to sleep on stone,
all my life, and go eating grass,
only to gaze at where her clothes cast shadow.

Whenever the hills cast blackest shadow,
with her sweet green, the lovely woman
hides it, as a man hides stone in grass.

Form: Sestina


Comments about Sestina by Dante Alighieri

  • Upendra Majhi (5/25/2017 11:54:00 PM)


    desire will not lose its green.stone feeling and speaking like a woman.stone was born in heaven.Clothing by the stone/hillingrass and flower is good imagination, befitting genius mind. nel mezodel komini nostra di vita,
    moi retrovia per una silva oscura.
    (Report) Reply

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  • Alexander Julian (5/25/2017 11:11:00 PM)


    Repetition of a word can begin the beauty. (Report) Reply

  • Shimizu Mizuhala (5/25/2017 10:29:00 PM)


    And likewise this heaven-born woman
    stays frozen, like the snow in shadow,

    Nature and love.
    (Report) Reply

  • Cheryl Tutaan (5/25/2017 2:20:00 PM)


    Her beauty has more virtue than rare stone.......Loved this poem...❤ (Report) Reply

  • M Sagnik Das (5/25/2017 12:45:00 PM)


    wow what a poem....i luv it (Report) Reply

  • (5/25/2017 11:19:00 AM)


    I get the impression that the poet is writing about Gaia- Mother Earth and Nature..beautiful images.. (Report) Reply

  • Queeny Gona (5/25/2017 5:10:00 AM)


    A heaven born Woman! Crazy for such a lovely woman is well expressed in the read (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (5/25/2017 3:02:00 AM)


    This heaven-born woman! ! ! Thanks for sharing this poem with us. (Report) Reply

  • (5/25/2017 1:48:00 AM)


    Lovely. The green grass overshadows the revered woman as object of love. (Report) Reply

  • Bernard F. Asuncion (5/25/2017 12:37:00 AM)


    The rivers will flow..... thanks for posting..... (Report) Reply

  • Susan Williams (1/9/2016 5:41:00 PM)


    Lovely lines. My favorite stanza is this one:
    I have seen her walk all dressed in green,
    so formed she would have sparked love in a stone,
    that love I bear for her very shadow,
    so that I wished her, in those fields of grass,
    as much in love as ever yet was woman,
    closed around by all the highest hills.
    (Report) Reply

Read all 11 comments »




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Read poems about / on: woman, green, snow, hair, beauty, fire, sleep, lost, heaven, light, love, women, wind, river, flower



Poem Submitted: Monday, January 20, 2003



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