“Hidden” by Ward Kelley

Ward Kelley


Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) worked on his masterpiece, “The Divine Comedy,” up to the very day of his death. Legend has it the last thirteen cantos would have been lost if Dante had not appeared in a dream to his son, Jacopo, to explain where the cantos were hidden.

I have summoned myself forth
into this foliation of the mind,
the layers of your mind, my son,
to see if it is possible to move

a thought or two from one soul
to another, one separated by this
strange corn cob of existences; I
know of no other analogy for this

kernel-less vortex of innate
vegetable matter that appears to
bind the two halves of a soul,
which is why it is so difficult

to convey a thought to another soul: it is
nearly impossible to talk to your very
own half. But a son, a son, it just might
be possible … yet …

I nearly forgot what I wanted.

from Rattle #15, Summer 2001


Ward Kelley: “Poetry took me by the proverbial scruff of the neck and began a passionate affair which included all the nuances of love, such as infatuation, anger, lust, apathy; then at least there came a year where we both broke free into a certain sublimation, and I learned, after 35 years, that the art lies in uncovering how to allow the poems to write themselves.”

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