Dante's Divina Commedia is an allegory of human life in the form of a vision of the world beyond the grave. It was written avowedly with the object of converting a corrupt society to righteousness: "to remove those living in this life from the state of misery and to lead them to a state of felicity." My own poetic opus contains a vision of the world beyond the grave, but it is not as systematic as Dante's, nor as concrete and certainly not set in a Christian framework. Given the extent to which the Bahá’í writings describe the afterlife, much more comprehensively than any previous religious revelation, there exists a basis for a theology of thanatos and the worlds, the kingdoms, beyond this one. I have drawn on this aspect of Bahá’í theology to some extent in my poetry thusfar and it is my intention to draw on it much more in the years ahead as I head into the late evening of my own life, from "this least of worlds to the high Heavens."

Dante's Divina Commedia is composed of a hundred cantos written in the measure known as terza rima with its normally hendecasyllabic lines and closely linked rhymes. Measure, rhyme and metre are hardly given any thought in my work, a work I have entitled Pioneering Over Four Epochs. Dante so modified his work from the popular poetry of his day that his long poem may be regarded as his own invention. I also modified my work over the three decades I have been writing. I have modified it in such a way that poetry and prose mingle. Indeed I came to regard poetry and prose as one entity in different forms.

Twenty years after the event, the vision which was granted to him for his own salvation while leading a sinful life, Dante began writing his Divina Commedia. The vision took place during the year of jubilee, 1300. For seven days, so went his vision, beginning on the morning of Good Friday he passed through hell, purgatory, and paradise, spoke with the souls in each realm, and heard what the Providence of God had in store for himself and his world. In the vision, Beatrice, representing divine philosophy illuminated by revelation, led him up through the nine moving heavens of intellectual preparation, into the true paradise, the spaceless and timeless empyrean, in which the blessedness of eternal life was found in the fruition of the sight of God. There her place was taken by St. Bernard who symbolized the loving contemplation of eternal life for the soul. St. Bernard commended Dante to the Blessed Virgin with whose intercession he was able to obtain a foretaste of the Beatific Vision. The poem closed with all powers of knowing and loving fulfilled and consumed in the union of the understanding with the Divine Essence and his will made one with the Divine Will-the Love that moved the sun and the other stars.

I could construct a world
of nine concentric circles
to balance those down here,
where in some high heavens
I'd find my home & garden,
mystical contemplation and
light & sip forgiveness' cup.