It was just three in the afternoon
when I met him on the third cornice
a burst of light and a cloud of smoke
and I raised my hands over my brows,
making a sunshade to blunt the glare
but in the end I had to shut my eyes!
Oddly enough the meeting occurred
in a hallway on the third floor
of a building on the far end
of the campus – a place dedicated
to studying literary classics
and the book written by our teacher
provided the illumination.
John Ciardi had translated Dante’s
timeless drama of an ascent
through purgatory without the gauds
of rhetoric other translators had used.
He had gone on to define a vision
of how does a poem mean –
not what does a poem mean!
Eschew obfuscation, he said,
study the tools that a poet
uses to craft a poem!