I was pleasantly surprised to find in the mail a small check for “My Father’s Dante,” which was a Laureate’s Choice (alongside many other poems) for the 2016 Great River Shakespeare Festival/Maria W. Faust Sonnet Contest. The poem also appeared in the Sewanee Review. Click here to visit the contest website and read a full list of the winners.
You were gone twenty years before I read
The book that draws me faster on to you.
The world you left got worse, and crowded too,
Charon capsized by cargoes of new dead.
I’m midway gone, in a grim winter mood,
Pinned by all I did instead of what I could.
Among the lessons I failed till now to learn
Is that, however handsome or witty,
We should expect to receive no pity.
We hurt as much from what we half forget
As from the things we carefully conserve.
You say: There is so much more to observe.
We will descend, and see, and not regret
That we fall, we shiver—we shine and burn.