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Prologue: for a Stage Presentation of the Inferno

To go into it: in the declivity
At the center of Hell
Furthest from the light,
Knotted in ice the Beast himself weeping.

Misery of cold, treachery of dark, agony
Of sin, bottomless sorrow of evil:
Not punishment, but the agony of rage unspent.

To go into it: sorrow of revenge
Never sufficient, extravagant.

Bottomless agony of the self-wounded
Soul in self-extinction

Treacherous soul.

To go into it
The pilgrim becomes the voice of the sinners.
The reader’s voice becomes the pilgrim’s
As the pilgrim becomes the writer.

To go into it—grappling at the ice-matted
Flank of the Beast, to bring
Sorrow to light.

Unreadable
Body of losses.

To go into it and through it
Or to go into it and never
Through it.

Withdrawal from the world of light.

To go into it to go through it: agony
Of despair, hand in the dark
Plucking at the knot that
The same hand tied
In the light.

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