They line the road, the valley side,
Back lit and dark as Satan’s horn.
Their roots descend through rock and bone
To Purgatory. Their points appear
To pierce an isolated cloud.
Front lit, they’re green and gay as holly,
But dense, delightful steeples
Pointing up to Beatrice,
Whose love propelled the pilgrim’s universe,
Whose benediction illuminates the road.
Where giants have died
Are planted youthful trees
Beside the Virgin’s shrine.
Are these the spears to pierce her
Mournful heart and draw her shining tears,
As did her first-born child,
Or but a line of witnesses
To our passage down or up,
Past Bramasole, past her shrine?
Cortona, July 2016
Pointing up to Beatrice / Whose love propelled the pilgrim’s universe