Dante in the Dark Wood of Error, Gustav Dore

Black Altar

Submitted by Anonymous

It shines like the beetle’s shell among the brush,
Entwined and wreathed with vines and leaves

Black Altar. Black sea.
Black land before me.

In moonlight scattered through the trees
In woodlands stirring thick with fiends.

I hear there’s one at every bend,
In every wood, on every land.
With siren-calls that promise peace
That lull from men an ancient frenzy.


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Photo credit: Dante in the Dark Wood of Error, Gustav Dore


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The Vita Brevis Team

“Ars longa, vita brevis" (art is long, life is short). This maxim so moved us that it seemed only right to title our online poetry magazine after it. It may seem curious that we chose Vita Brevis (life is short) as our title instead of Ars Longa (art is long). But this choice was more than appropriate; after all, the aim of our journal is to publish work that shows a keen awareness of not only art’s beauty and immortality but life’s toils and finiteness. We want to revive and nourish the rich existential literature that forms when art and the human endeavor collide.

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