We meet Diomedes, the Greek hero of Troy, trapped in a flame with Odysseus in Canto 26 of Dante’s Inferno. Odysseus speaks but Diomedes remains silent. Here, ironically, he speaks through his presence.


How smoke refused to clear
For all his fearful presence;
At least smoke knew no fear.

How flames would not subdue
Their burning, burning, his essence;
Yet still his anger grew.

How depths fell ever deeper,
Though no depths made him wince—
At home in hell, his keeper—

Pain wrapped in silence;
For which no words came later,
Sealed in a trance.

©James Sale 2020



James Sale is a worldwide thought leader on motivation: he has had 4 books on the topic published by Routledge, and over 700 management consultants in 15 countries use his products. James is also a feature writer on culture for The Epoch Times. He has written poetry for over 50 years and has had 9 collections published. He won First Prize in the Society’s 2017 Competition and his next collection, The English Cantos Volume 1: HellWard is due shortly. For more on this, go to https://englishcantos.home.blog. He can be contacted at james@motivationalmaps.com.

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4 Responses

  1. Joseph S. Salemi

    Both Odysseus and Diomedes are condemned for fraud, trickery, and lying. In both the Iliad and the Odyssey we find many examples of how they are master deceivers. It makes perfect sense that in hell they are constrained to silence, or to very limited speech.

  2. Akeela Davis

    Very evocative of his suffering and how he perpetuates and deepens it through anger rather than remorse.

    Very powerful- James

  3. J D Wallace

    I had a somewhat pedestrian that this may be why few people drive without the radio playing. Assuming a modicum cognitive reflection, there is nothing but you, your past, and God in a difficult conversation.


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