Painting with Words – Dante (from The Inferno)
Nessus had not yet reached the other shore/when we moved on into a pathless wood/that twisted upward from Hell’s broken floor.
Its foilage was not verdant, but nearly black./The unhealthy branches, gnarled and warped and tangled,/bore poison throns instead of fruit. The track
of those wild beasts that shun the open spaces/men till between Cecina and Corneto/runs through no rougher nor more tangled places.
Here nest the odious Harpies of whom my Master/wrote how they drove Aeneas and his companions/from the Strophades with prophecies of disaster.
There wings are wide, their feet clawed, their huge bellies/covered with feathers, their necks and faces human./They croak eternally in unnatural trees.