Painting in oil: Dante and Virgil in the Underworld, Filippo Napoletano (1622)
The Eternal Party: Dante’s Search
I searched for you, love, beneath whispered breaths
in midnight parties, sly laughter, and golden cupolas of intrigue,
champagne slippers climbing into leather hearses made for speed:
there where Virgil’s ghostly shade to each descending circle of hell
led where adulterous lovers yearn for unbroken vows and hands
that reach eternally for the other, never meeting, where traitors
in Mardi Gras faces feast on each other’s flesh, a banquet of greed
where the streamers fly past diamond-clad fingers and the champagne
courses through covetous mouths and envious eyes and consuming desire.
Never was I so glad:
Love, you were not there!