In the 59th year of my life, I serendipitously collected six busts of Dante. What the hell does this mean? How does this parallel with my life?
Dante was an Italian poet and moral philosopher best known for the epic poem The Divine Comedy, a great work of medieval literature, the most famous part of which is the Inferno, an allegory telling of the journey of Dante through Hell, guided by the Roman poet Virgil. In the poem, Hell is depicted as nine circles of suffering located within the Earth. Some pretty heavy literature.
So far, my life has read like a divine comedy. See post: Howdy! An Introduction.
Today's focus is on the six I've collected, one for each decade (and also the first six rings of Hell, but we're not gonna get too deep into it, this shit's hard for a Redneck to wrap his head around). The busts will be shown in order of purchase.
1. Limbo: an uncertain period, awaiting a decision or resolution. Lord have mercy, this is an uncomfortable feeling, one that causes me great anxiety.
This Dante was purchased in one of my fishing holes here in St. Louis and has been set to rest in my library bookcases. Marble, probably Italian, circa 1920. Picked this first one up because I collect busts, had no idea it would start a Dante collection. (For more about busts, please refer to post: Bust.)
2. Lust: a very strong feeling of sexual desire. Hopefully every consenting adult has experienced this.
3. Gluttony: habitual greed or excess in eating. Guilty as charged, on both accounts. Especially the eating, over this birthday weekend. And the gleeful experience of one very pretentious box.
Two of a kind! Not a pair of bookends. Polychromed cast iron, also resting peacefully (if Dante ever experienced peace) in the library. The right amount of shitty (paint all chipped up).
This dude is one of the larger. Cast bronze, mid-19th century, perhaps a Grand Tour piece. Setting judgmentally in my entry/gallery/dining room.
5. Anger: a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility. Unfortunately I experience this much too often.
This guy is bronze, mounted on a marble ashtray. Circa 1920. Interesting, burning cigarettes in a marble ring. He even looks angry. Actually, all the busts look angry.
6. Heresy: belief or opinion contrary to the orthodox. I resemble this remark.
In the last week of my 59th year, I acquired the largest of the collection. An architectural terra cotta piece mounted on a marble base. Mid to late 19th century. Not sure if keeping this dude. Just can't seem to find a place for him to rest.
Life has been good. Woke up today trying to elude limbo, with a lust to give the best I possibly can, gluttonous desire to work harder than I ever have, a greed to enjoy what's in store, an angry commitment to be kinder than I could ever imagine, and a heretical goal to not be so contrary.
The last three rings: Violence, Fraud, and Treachery. I hope my collection is over, and I don't experience the last three while I'm in the Twilight Zone.
Johnny Cash, "Ring of Fire"