Canto V: The Womb
Hul and I labored for an hour
to make the opening enough to fit.
Through my great strain, I followed Hul,
who easily could wriggle through the gap.
Emerging to the other side, I saw
what left him dumb-struck when he re-emerged:
the crevice was a hidden gate to grove
enclosed entirely besides this door.
Through it ran a river which began
and vanished in the rock of hidden caves.
This, giving life to verdant green profuse,
would enter, unassuming as it went.
The region felt untouched by plagued hands,
which the silence only more confirmed:
that here was womb unsullied by our stain;
fertility the valley black forgot.
Exploring, we two marked the edge of it,
and surveyed all that seemed enclosed within
its divine protection, marveling
at fruits which hung abundant, ripe to pick
to feed a phantom child never known.
Then slowly an idea began to root
inside our minds, though not a word was said:
that here was an oasis from the plight
the dying world had wrought upon the poor.
With ease the grove could sate, sustain us all--
Both families would shelter in this place.
With just a little cultivation this
might well become a haven for the time
it takes to pass the hell of present strife,
the toil and the white plague raging on outside--
Just as the wolf will snarl and curse the hare
which, hidden in its hideaway regards
the wild snarls as nothing more than rain.
Looking up, we noted how the time
had run away in our amazement here.
And so we two resolved to pass the night
Hul, dragging in the boar that we had slain,
and hiding packs and gear to large to take,
and covering the entry way in earth.