Of my sowing such straw I reap. O human folk, why set the heart there where exclusion of partnership is necessary?
Purgatorio, xiv, 85—87

WHERE do they come from? Those whom we so much dread,
As on our dearest location falls the chill
Of their crooked wing, and endangers
The melting friend, the aqueduct, the flower.
Terrible Presences that the ponds reflect
Back at the famous, and, when the blond boy
Bites eagerly into the shining
Apple, emerge in their shocking fury.
And we realize the woods are deaf, and the sky
Nurses no one, and we are awake, and these
Like farmers have purpose and knowledge,
And towards us their hate is directed.
We are the barren pastures to which they bring
The resentment of outcasts; on us they work
Out their despair; they wear our weeping
As the disgraceful badge of their exile.
O we conjured them here like a lying map:
Desiring the extravagant joy of life,
We lured with a mirage of orchards,
Fat in the lazy climate of refuge.
Our money sang like streams on the aloof peaks
Of our thinking that beckoned them on like girls;
Our culture like a West of wonder
Shone a solemn promise in their faces.
We expected the beautiful or the wise,
Ready to see a charm in our childish fib.
Pleased to find nothing but stones, and
Able at once to create a garden.
But those who come are not even children with
The big indiscriminate eyes we had lost,
Occupying our narrow spaces
With their anarchist vivid abandon.
They arrive, already adroit, having learnt
Restraint at the table of a father’s rage;
In a mother’s distorting mirror,
They discovered the Meaning of Knowing.
These pioneers have long adapted themselves
To the night and the nightmare; they come equipped
To reply to terror with terror,
With lies to unmask the least deception.
For a future of marriage, nevertheless,
The bed is prepared; though all our whiteness shrinks
From the hairy and clumsy bridegroom,
We conceive in the shuddering instant.
For the barren must wish to bear, though the Spring
Punish; and the crooked that dreads to be straight
Cannot alter its prayer, but summons
Out of the dark a horrible rector.
O the striped and vigorous tiger can move
With style through the borough of murder; the ape
Is really at home in the parish
Of grimacing and licking; but we have
Failed as their pupils. Our tears well from a love
We have never outgrown; our cities predict
More than we hope; even our armies
Have to express our need of forgiveness.