River Island

River Island
from Dante’s Purgatorio,
Canto 1, lines 100-105

Questa isoletta intorno ad imo ad imo,

là giù colà dove la batte l’onda,

porta dei giunchi sovra il molle limo:

null’altra pianta che facesse fronda

o indurasse, vi puote aver vita,

però che a le percosse non seconda.

All around this little island in its reaches low

down there where the wave is beating,

tall reeds from soft mud can grow:

no other plant can live there, bearing

leaves or hardening in its prime,

that will not bend when tides are battering.

photograph: Common Reed Phragmites australis, Old Peat Road, Drumbeg, Sutherland, December