The Ferryman: Based on Dantes Inferno

September 11, 2008
By Jessica Cohn-Kleinberg, Miami, FL

The Ferryman,
a steersman of that marsh of ruined souls,
rows through the fog.
I see him when the coins have fallen from my eyes.
His eyes, like hollow furnaces on fire
burn into my very being.

He speaks:

I am the way into the city of woe
I am the way to a forsaken People
I am the way into Eternal Sorrow

And I believe.

He floats through a sea of decaying bodies
that reach to climb aboard.

He speaks:

Here you shall pass among
the fallen people.

They’re dead, but they keep on living.
They’re blind for the Ferryman hasn’t collected his toll,
rusted coins instead of sight.

He speaks:

They have no hope of death
And in their blind and unattaining state
Their miserable lives have sunk so low
That they must envy every other fate

They scream wordlessly
with sewn lips.
Shrieking in an endless ocean
of bodies
for all eternity.

He speaks:

Woe to you depraved soul!
Bury here all hope of Paradise:
I come to lead you to the other shore,
into eternal dark, into fire and ice.

He warns me,
but I pay no heed,
as I step onto the barge
that will lead me
to my fate.

I look upon this sea of souls
and am moved.
Only I cry for them-
the Lost.

Their skin is grey, the shade of the forgotten.
Their hair is brittle and scarce.
Bleeding sores cover their limbs.
They feel nothing but everlasting torment.
All mortal emotions have bled out long ago.

But they don’t notice.
They don’t care.
In their blind suffering
they merely know one thing,
that they only want to get out,
while I,
standing on the edge of abyss,

Only want to get in.

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