[from James Merrill's Changing Light at Sandover, Knopf, 2006]
excerpt from "The Book of Ephraim"
. . .
This dream, he blandly adds, is a low-budget
Remake -- imagine -- of the Paradiso.
Not otherwise its poet toured the spheres
While Someone very highly placed up there,
Donning his bonnet, in and out through that
Now famous nose haled the cool Tuscan night.
The resulting masterpiece takes years to write;
More, since the dogma of its day
Calls for a Purgatory, for a Hell,
Both of which Dante thereupon, from footage
Too dim or private to expose, invents.
His Heaven, though, as one cannot but sense,
Tercet by tercet, is pure Show and Tell.
. . .
The Changing Light at Sandover