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.