The Inferno: A Divine Comedy / by Joseph Castorino


Let’s now take a tour through Dante’s

  Inferno by going back in time,

It’s all about poetic justice down there,

  So let the punishment fit the crime!


Hell is shaped like a giant funnel,

  And it leads to the center of the Earth,

It’s an ugly place with a vile stench,

  And it’s certainly not known for mirth.


In the Vestibule are those neither good

  Nor bad who are like the living dead,

And as they are stung by wild wasps,

  Their elastic eyes pop out of their head.


In Circle One are the honorable pagans,

  Who lived by the glory of reasoning,

These souls are feeling sad in limbo,

  Since they will never taste heavenly seasoning.


In Circle Two are those with carnal passions,

  Who allowed sensuality to abound,

Lustful lovers are kissed by a whirling tempest

  In an eternal merry-go-round.


In Circle Three are the vomit-stained gluttons,

  In a squalid snow unholy,

Three-headed Cerberus loves their fatty flavor

  Even more than a tasty cannoli.


In Circle Four are the hoarders and wasters,

  Whose only idol in life was money,

They all have heavy weights on their backs,

  And shuffle around kind of funny.


In Circle Five the wrathful are swimming

  In the swampy Stygian mud,

They look like the drool a cow spits out,

  After it has blandly chewed its cud.


A flame from the Great Tower

  Marks a shift from upper to lower hell,

This flashing fire signals hell’s capital

  In lieu of a funeral bell.


In Circle Six stands the City of Dis,

  Shrouded with the smokiest fog,

The heretics are cooked in flaming graves,

  As if they are a barbecued hot dog.


Circle Seven is a little bit different,

  And it’s divided into three separate rounds,

The sinners are suffering in divers ways,

  Making all kinds of screaming sounds.


In Round One are the violent souls,

  Mad warlords who wanted to be boss,

Their heads bob in a boiling river of blood,

  Like meatballs in tomato sauce.


In Round Two the suicides have turned into

  Trees that have black leaves on top,

Their souls are bottled up inside,

  Very much like bubbly soda pop.


In Round Three the blasphemers lie on burning sand,

  And it makes them really sizzle,

They must have heard the forecast wrong,

  Because there is a fiery drizzle.


Circle Eight is also quite unusual,

  Divided into bolgias numbering ten,

Each bolgia is a deep, cavernous ditch,

  More filthy than a swine’s muddy pen.


In Bolgia One are the selfish seducers,

  Who perennially rush around in a mob,

They look like interns late for the subway,

  Who are afraid of losing their job.


In Bolgia Two are the flatterers,

  Who speak words of sweet sugar-coated goo,

One of them falls into the pool of excrement,

  And swallows a mouthful or two.


Bolgia Three is lined with a honeycomb of tubes,

  For simoniacs who misused their position,

They’re crammed head-first into each of them,

  With their feet ignited by nuclear fission.


In Bolgia Four are the fortune tellers who

  Thought predicting the future was pretty neat,

But now they have their heads on backwards,

  And they look like twisted pretzels when they eat.


In Bolgia Five, the grafters look like fried frogs,

  Peering out from the boiling black tar,

When a demon raked one with a grappling hook,

  He felt like he got flattened by a car.


In Bolgia Six are the hypocrites, wearing

  Beautiful robes of the heaviest lead,

With buckling knees, they’re sweating bullets,

  And their faces are turning strawberry red.


In Bolgia Seven are the thieves,

  Who are grievously guilty of blame,

The serpents squeeze them very tight,

  And like matches they burst into flame.


In Bolgia Eight are the evil counselors,

  Whose murky malevolence is most dire,

They could really go for some lemonade,

  Since they are wading in a lake of fire.


In Bolgia Nine are the sowers of discord,

  Who are decapitated by a demon who looks drunk,

One of them palms his head in his hand,

  Like a basketball player preparing to dunk.


In Bolgia Ten are the crafty counterfeiters,

  Who loved to print monetary junk,

Now their skin is crusted with horrid diseases,

  And they have a stench like a fricasseed skunk.


In Circle Nine are the beastly betrayers,

  Whose souls are so grimly black,

The devil chews and chomps on them,

  In a crunchy never-ending snack.


Finally we’ve reached the bottom of hell,

  And our fascinating journey is done,

Hopefully Dante is pleased with the result,

  As we’ve had just a little bit of fun.


But the moral of the story is to remember always

  The very true words of St. John Vianney,

He put it quite well when he said with utter sincerity,

  “Hell exists!”