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Parodies Of Classical Poetry

La Delta Commedia: Inferno
Jules — 01 Jun 1998

This is, by necessity, a fairly fast and loose reinterpretation of a verse translation from the original Italian... which means that it's quite some way removed from the real thing! Particularly the bit in the middle, where I bolted it together any old how. Please, the next time I decide to attempt a filk in terza rima, could somebody remind me that it's a very rash and stupid thing to try to do...?

(with profound apologies to Dante Alighieri and Dorothy L Sayers)

Diverted from my wished for life at conn
I woke to find myself in New Zealand,
Career in Starfleet wholly lost and gone.

Ay me! how hard to speak of how fate's hand
Dealt proud and stubborn pilot! the mere touch
Of cold steel from restraining ankle band;

It chafes so bitter, token of so much
I possessed of good, only to betray;
A tale I'll write of how I came to such.

How I got into it I cannot say,
At shuttle's helm I nodded off to sleep
And crashed on Caldik Prime that fateful day.

But when at last I stood beneath a steep
Hill's side, wilting beneath the hot sun's rays
List'ning to laser welder's steady bleep

Then I looked up, and saw her steely gaze,
Command red shoulders, four pips caught my eye;
A guide to set my feet right on their way.

She spoke: "Tom Paris? Kathryn Janeway. I
Served your father on the Al-Batani
I wonder could we talk somewhere nearby?

The Rehab Commission is pleased to see
Your steady progress back from penal Hell;
There's a job I need you to do for me.

As observer, I think and deem it well
To take you as our guide to the Maquis,
Through an eternal place and terrible

Where plasma storms at levels four and three
Embraced the missing ship in torments dire;
But not its death since there was no debris.

So, thou shalt gaze upon the plasma fire,
And from our maps attempt to clarify
Whether they reached the system Moriya;

Find us their base, prove worthy and then I
Will help you at your next review outmeet,
At which I'll cut thee loose, and say good-bye."

Then I to her: "Captain, I thee entreat,
I have no problem telling what I know,
Lead on, that I may free my captive feet

From this anklet and from worse; and I will go
Along with thee, Chakotay's ship to find,
And those whom thou portray'st as lost also."

So she moved on; and I moved on behind.

Phew. One canto down, 99 to go. Well, maybe not...

(Based on Canto I of La Divina Commedia: Inferno by Dante Alighieri, as translated by Dorothy L Sayers)