Poetry: The Book of my Enemy — The Banishment | clivejames.com
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The Banishment

Ma fu’ io solo, là dove sofferto
fu per ciascun di tòrre via Fiorenza,
colui che la difesi a viso aperto.

Blemishes age
The Arno tonight
The lamps on the bridges
Piledrive light

Kinky bright krisses
Bent new pin
Opal portcullises
Lychees in gin

Bean-rows of breakable
Stakes going in

Chinese brass burnishes.

Pearlshell caskets
Tumble plunder
Soft rose ledges
Give, go under

Bolts of lamé

If you open slowly
Eyes half crying
That whole flowing
Blurs like dying


Pinking scissors
Choke on velvet:
Cut-throat razors
Rust in claret.

Note (from Collected Poems)

The epigraph is from Dante, Inferno, Canto X, the episode featuring Dante’s great political enemy Farinata degli Uberti. Standing in his grave in the burning cemetery of heretics, Farinata reminds Dante that when there was talk of destroying Florence, he, Farinata, was alone in defending her with his visor open, so that his face could be seen.