Dante’s Dreams at the Time of the Death of Beatrice, Robert A. Sieczkiewicz
It is Love that has my quivering hand,
In one and orange-blossoms the other,
Poppies everywhere, I did understand,
Beatrice, my darken heart be pother.
The earth shakes beneath my unsteady feet,
Winds howl past my ear a message do give,
Say that my feelings are surely effete,
For I, a self-indulgent fool do live.
No escaping the fact that most gracious
Beatrice will have to die someday true.
But let life lacking her be fugacious,
Let this weak subsistence of mine be through.
I feel your spirit leaving my black heart,
Only in death will we not be apart.
Dante Rosette painted this work in 1871. He uses symbolism to make a few points. Dante Alighieri uses capital L when referring to the spirit that controls him, meaning Cupid. In the painting Cupid or Love is the red angel. The orange blossom which Cupid carries is a symbol of unconsummated love, while the poppies are a symbol of death. And the cloth held above her is the burial cloth.
The remaining stanzas and couplet for my poem were developed from several readings of Dante’s La Vita Nuova (the Frisardi translation), especially chapter 14 where Dante talks of his dream of Beatrice’s death. For the courageous reader I have included a link to an English version of LaVita Nuova.
Letter Sent by a Dove, Robert A. Sieczkiewicz
Tis I with burden to do my bidding.
With heart so eager to speak so boldly
Yet rigid tongue with no ability.
Courage in my garden need be growing
Still the brave male lion does no hoeing.
Stand afar do I and never to be
Or with a rope hang on that lonely tree
But may my attention she awaiting?
Build position with handcrafted letter.
Dip pen in the blood of thy loving heart
And let the hand no heartfelt word deter.
Thy artful pen shall become Cupid dart.
Waxen seal shall capture her heart with love
With thy letter sent by fluttering dove.
The painting used with this poem was done by a Russian artist. However, the name was not clear to me so I am omitted giving credit here. It was used because it show results. We have a male in love with a woman hand does not know how to tell her so. He feels that it is to late to learn the skills necessary to be a smooth talker so he might as well go out and hang himself. But what if she is really interested in him? So he writes her a letter. By the look on her face it looks like is was quite. a love letter.
Dante meets Beatrice at Ponte Santa Trinità, Robert A. Sieczkiewicz
Walking every street of Florence in search,
Of a face greater than Aphrodite.
My age has doubled since starting research,
After May Day and persists day and night.
Beatrice where art thou as my eyes wish,
To once again envelope thy beauty.
Some say that my behavior is selfish,
Ruled by you do abdicate my duty.
Is it possible, why can’t it be true?
A vision of beauty is upon me.
My heart begins to race for it is you.
Body turns so rigid as if a tree.
With her gentle smile she sings a hello.
Enraptured by her word I turn and go.
This painting of Dante Alighieri and Beatrice Portinari was done by Henry Holiday in 1894. The poem I wrote is based on Dante’s La Vita Nuova. Dante was around 18 years old when he meets Beatrice for the second time as shown in the painting. The first time was was he 9 and she was 8. Their first meeting was when his father took him to the Portinari house for a May Day party. From that day he was obsessed by her beauty.
Dante went on to marry Gemma Donati, in 1285. They had three sons and one daughter. Beatrice went on to marry Simone de Bardi a wealthy banker, in 1287, but she died three years later. Dante was quite shaken by the event and he went on to write La Vita Nuova. In it he tells about his dream of Beatrice’s death. That will be the focus of a later poem. Prior to Beatrice’s death their paths did cross two more times.
A point I think is worth noting is if Dante was so obsessed with Beatrice why did he marry before her? Was she just a vision? Was she simply a vehicle for Dante to unlock what was in his head?
Portrait of Nini Lopez, Robert A. Sieczkiewicz
Nini Lopez how my heart yearns for you.
At first glimpse on rue Cortot it was known,
On painting your tender face to be shown.
Flawless skin, soft as early morning dew.
What is before my brush would paint so true.
The stool which you sat did become your throne.
Years together again I am alone.
Shame on me as did not see your adieu.
Monsieur, soon my weaken heart you did take.
Your look was not always a painter’s glance.
Feeling your eyes upon me you did make,
An aching heart burning for your romance.
I am through with teary nights and heartbreak,
For all is lost, you did not take a chance.
Renoir painted this portrait of Nini in 1876. During the period 1874 to 1879 Nini appeared in no less than fourteen of Renoir’s paintings. For some strange reason a cruel nickname of Nini-Gueule-de-Raie, or ” Nini fish face” was given to her. I don’t think that Renoir saw her that way.
In this painting Renoir is experimenting with light coming in from a window. The shadow on the left side of her face only compounds the sadness the viewer feels for this young lady. It is definitely a serious moment and what can be more serious than love.