When one’s heart, mind and body become superfluously faithful to a casual lover, unwittingly, and one can neither step away nor step up, and one doesn’t exactly know how one’s lover feels, or whether the relationship will survive another day, and yet one is addicted, can’t tear oneself away, but must endure it to the certain, bitter end like a fever that must run its course.

I imagine that people sometimes feel this way.


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9 Responses to torture

  1. Steven Fama says:

    Maybe it’s sort of like — sort of exactly like — what the great thirteenth century Sicilian Giacomo de Lentini wrote in one of his poems:

    Foc’aio al cor,
    non credo mai si stingua,
    anzi si pur alluma,
    perche non mi consuma?
    La salamandra audivi
    che ‘nfra lo foco vivi
    – stando sana;
    eo si fo per long’uso:
    vivo ‘n foc’amoroso,
    e non saccio ch’eo dica:
    lo meo lavoro spica –
    e poi non grana.

  2. Jessica Smith says:


  3. Steven Fama says:

    Gladly (forgive the poor lineation):

    I have a fire deep in my heart,
    and I do not think it will every be quenched;
    but rather, if it burns evermore,
    why does it not consume me?
    I have heard it said that the salamander
    lives in fire, unscathed;
    this I have long been doing:
    I live in the fire of love,
    and I do not know what I am saying:
    my wheat ears up, but forms no kernels.

    [the fever in your comment and the fire of de Lentini is where I saw a correspondence]

  4. Jessica Smith says:

    Hmmm… i wonder if this is the poem that Bob Dylan refers to in “Tangled up in Blue”

  5. Jessica Smith says:

    must be, right? or at least the poet. thanks for introducing me, steve.

  6. Steven Fama says:

    There is an entire 13th century “Sicilian school.” Giacomo de Lentini, often credited with inventing the sonnet, is considered the best of the (alas, but predictably, male) bunch.

    I think of that Dylan song lyric (“Tangled Up In Blue”) too. Presumably, Dylan sang “Italian poet / From the thirteenth century . . .” because the more correct “Sicilian” just doesn’t have the same connotations or open vowel sound at the start of the word.

    I’ve also considered whether Dante could be Dylan’s “Italian poet from the 13th Century.” Dante was born in 1265. But Dante is not primarily known for love poems while de Lentini and the other Sicilians are about the love. So I’ve always insisted the allusion in Dylan is to someone like de Lentini.

    The best collection of Sicilian school poetry is unfortunately a large long out-of-print and scarce collection in the Sicilian language.

    The best English book — and the source for my quotes above — is a generous bi-lingual collection by Frede Jensen (an academic), called The Poetry of the Sicilian School, published in 1986 as part of the Garland Medieval Literature Series. Finding a personal copy appears all but impossible these days, but at least here in California many large university libraries have it.

  7. Mr. Horton says:


    This reads like a roadmap to Blanche DuBoisism.


  8. Jessica Smith says:

    david, i’ve never depended on the kindness of strangers.

    steve, what reinforces it for me are the lines:
    and every one of those words rang true
    and glowed like burning coal

    because here we have a reiteration of the burning metaphor.

    it seems to fit. well! i learned something yesterday.

  9. Steven Fama says:

    Speaking of learning things, I received two days ago via snail-mail a copy Darren Wershler-Henry’s Tapeworm Foundry and around here it’s been nothing but gargantuan guffaws andor loud laughs andor super snickers andor headshaking hosannas andor avid applause andor you get the picture and so thank you looktouch comment bloggers and Jessica you in particular for educating ignorant me about him the other day.

    That book is available for free on the Internet so everyone can check it out.

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