Referred to Limbo


We’re virtuous poets lacking faith
untouched by sin, but sent to hell
to Limbo, where we’re left like wraiths

It’s not like heaven, just a shell
protecting from the deeper caves
and thick with fumes of Asphodel

And there we found our final grave
the pagans never crowned in sin,
unbaptized still not daemon’s slaves.

Limbo by Gustave Doré

Limbo by Gustave Doré


This is 55 word Terza Rima for the prompt at toads. To fit my description of the first circle of hell (which is really Hades) to 55 words I went with tetrameter. I also link this to Poetry Pantry

July 5, 2015

48 responses to “Referred to Limbo

  1. a very interesting concept. limbo is often a place of the unwanted of undecided entities. but does ot really exist. i may never know

  2. You worked so well with your chosen form, Bjorn. Not an easy exercise, given the word limit. I love your choice of words and the description of Limbo is quite chilling. Trust the human imagination to come up with a place more sinister than hell to scare the daylights out of the living.

  3. You know, I think I would rather the fires of hell than limbo – neither earning heaven or hell. Think I would have to wonder at the point of life to be so mediocre

  4. I guess poetry is a kind of limbo – are we in life or observing it…can we see and feel too much of whatever comes next? I still don’t think I’d swop it for a more certain place in life…and after..thank you for making me think!

  5. I like the description of the different levels you gave. I hadn’t thought much about limbo ever, but I think the description of it as ‘just a shell’ works. I picture limbo as a region from which one could move in either direction.

  6. Yes, exactly what I was thinking–and a very clean and sharp vision in 55 precise and originally rhymed words–especially love the fumes of Asphodel, released in the meadow of the Underworld for those whose work is done.

  7. Very nice to read, Bjorn. I use ‘limbo’ (should I capitalize?) quite often in my speech. Yours I relate to Pergatory instead of indecision.
    ..

  8. I hope that’s a little re(e)fer in your title.

    Have you seen the movie What Dreams May Come? It’s one of my favorites. Anyway, the wife spends a good portion of the movie in the place you’re describing. But she doesn’t have to be; she unknowingly chooses it because she can’t completely comprehend her situation.

      • I have seen the movie What Dreams May Come It is a favourite n just incredibly filmed creations are just amazing as is the story line I inspire anyone who hasn’t watched to do so its on DVD 🙂

    • Oh I have never seen that film.. but I think ending up in limbo is a strong place.. in the Dante’s version limbo was a place in hell that was reserved for good people that were not Christian.. many of the images are taken from Hades of the greek mythology.. therefore the image of the Asphodel… hmmm

  9. love it! you turn out some great lines (the pagans never crowned in sin) and perhaps limbo is where all Sunday poets will go for breaking the Sabbath. p.s just taken a look at toads – enticing!

  10. Wow Bjorn, I so admire your skill at executing form. I’m not qualified to judge, but I think it’s excellent.

  11. I like how the different stanzas suggest the descent into hell. My favorite image is that of limbo as a ‘shell’. To me it is a place where not much, if anything, happens.

  12. Bjorn–I briefly have internet service today so can’t write much–you use your form and your idea so well–succinct but definitely gets your ideas accross–I don’t know–it feels pretty blank and yet of course there’s a freedom! Thanks. k.

  13. your poem and especially its accompanying artwork reminds me so much of my own deceased grandfather’s theological books that i happily perused through in his office when he wasn’t home. i remember the feelings of dread and amusement just by looking at very archaic religious artwork. good job though!!!

  14. When I was a kid, I worried a lot about limbo. That was before I started worrying about people who, having never heard the churches doctrines, couldn’t get into heaven because they didn’t believe. Soon after that I stopped seeking answers in religious dogma.

  15. In this limbo, we are sure to be in great company. I wonder if that would be like a French Cafe full of existentialists (unrepentant) and surrealist commies?

  16. Limbo is a kind of holding area; until direction is verified..It is not surprising that poets should end up in that location, alongside pagans and the like..We tempt others as well as ourselves, with our words..Testing truths.
    Eileen

  17. yours is a clever metaphor for a poets’s task. we are not involved yet we involve our selves through our imagination of things

    Bjorn i’m happy you dropped in at my Sunday Lime

    much love…

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