“Terza Rima”, Richard Wilbur

Published in The New Yorker in 2008, here is a gem-like little poem by Richard Wilbur reflecting on the casual power of terza rima, the form in which Dante wrote the Commedia and also that of Robert Frost’s Acquainted With The Night:

In this great form, as Dante proved in Hell,
There is no dreadful thing that can’t be said
In passing. Here, for instance, one could tell

How our jeep skidded sideways toward the dead
Enemy soldier with the staring eyes,
Bumping a little as it struck his head,

And then flew on, as if toward Paradise.

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