On a Palmetto
Through all that year-scarred agony of height,
Unblest of bough or bloom, to where expands
His wandy circlet with his bladed bands
Dividing every wind, or loud or light,
To termless hymns of love and old despite,
Yon tall palmetto in the twilight stands,
Bare Dante of these purgatorial sands
That glimmer marginal to the monstrous night.
Comes him a Southwind from the scented vine,
It breathes of Beatrice through all his blades,
North, East or West, Guelph-wind or Ghibelline,
’Tis shredded into music down the shades;
All sea-breaths, land-breaths, systol, diastol,
Sway, minstrels of that grief-melodious Soul.