​The Comeback of My Lifetime [rev. 11-8-2018]

​The Comeback of My Lifetime

Burning with haste toward agony, I read
the gilded granite arch, surmounted sable with obsidion
that gules with lava at the gate to Hell, warning,
“Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate”.

At all but the last measure of helpless,
having looked long into the abyss beyond that gate,
all strength stagnant, all sinew stiffened–
I quake of Death’s rigor rattling unto mortis.

The gates are barred, before me or behind me?
I turn on chalked knees, shorn, grinding out a pivot.
This rigid spine, locked in its stoop, creeks
as my remains of weakness rise in strength.

A voice, I hear a voice prevailing upon the wind
and look. Is that a more chilling flame I see?
The gates, before or behind, burst inward!
Lo, terror wailing upon white horseback born in battle array,

crowned rider firing flashing arrows aflame toward fury,
“Come and see!” and I saw, between the broken wide and warped gate
the narrow ladder, flames ascending and descending thereupon.
I reached for the bottom rung, and heared, “Come, follow me!”

The agony of each movement, rung to rung, despite my blind unknowing,
brings only Hope’s light burning thereupon
that the ladder rising unto the heat of a warming flame
might be held up by heighest’s super-brilliant blinding light.

My wounded corpse engulfed within the rider’s wounds
climbs evermore by weakness of his strength.
His ladder is made of crosses and my agony is for his.
We are going to make the comeback of my lifetime.

“Come and see!”
Oh, the shear grace of what I saw!
Lo, what, now, do I see? Too brilliant, the light!
“Come, follow me!” Keep climbing.

Is he coming? … anon–